So, the LGBT community and its allies boycotted Target when we learned that they were donating to anti-LGBT politicians and political groups. And we boycotted Chick-fil-A when we learned that buying a sandwich comes with its own anti-LGBT donation. And some folks — though, not me — boycotted anything Russian in light of Russia’s new anti-LGBT laws and the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia.
Those are sometimes hard fights to explain because of the rhetoric of those we’re trying to boycott; Gregg Steinhafel, the CEO of Target tried to explain his company’s rationale behind their donations, and Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, basically gave us the Big Foam Finger when asked about his anti-LGBT activities. But rarely do we get smacked in the face so handily, easily, blatantly and unapologetically, as when Guido Barilla, who own the Barilla pasta brand that owns nearly half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of the US market, told an Italian radio host:
“I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go and eat another brand.”
Oh, Guido, honey, we will. Of course then he added:
“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company. … Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them [but] I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose."
And it was on. Barilla became the target of a boycott by the LGBT community and its allies, and other pasta companies began stepping up and announcing that they are pleased as punch to have The Gays eat their noodle, er, noodles. And folks began suggesting that The Gays boycott Barilla — and as I said, we are, we are here in Smallville — and that we also boycott the twenty other brands owned by Guido, including Voiello pasta and Filiz and Misko products.
And then as happens when a CEO steps in it, and the company seems like it’s going to take a rather harsh financial hit, that CEO, steps up and apologizes for what he said:
“I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone. In the interview I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family."
If.The.Gays.Don’t.Like.It.They.Can.Go.And.Eat.Another.Brand. That’s what he said. And we didn’t accept his apology, so Guido went on Facebook and began apologizing a second time:
“With reference to my statements yesterday to the press, I apologize if my words have offended some people. For clarity I would like to point out that I have the deepest respect for all people, without distinction of any kind. I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and freedom of expression. I also said, and repeat, that I have respect for marriages between people of the same sex.”
He gave that non-apology-apology, about being sorry if he offended anyone. When will these people, all people, learn that an apology doesn’t ever include and ‘if’ or a ‘but’ and should basically be limited to the words “I’m sorry.” And maybe an “I was wrong” and perhaps an “I’ll shut up now.”
And still The Gays weren’t placated and still more pasts accompanies came out as LGBT-0friendly, and so Guido went all a’Twitter on Twitter, apologizing again:
“At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors – with love and respect – and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”
That’s a wee bit better but it might have had more impact if that was the first apology and not the third apology.
Now, there is the idea that since Guido Barilla was speaking to Italian radio, in Italian, and In Italy, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge, because in Italy, The Gays are decidedly the underdog, the second-class citizen. But, Barilla said it, and it went out all over the world, and the apologies, while numerous, were often less apologetic and more, Oh sorry that bothered you that you heard what I said but oh well.
Here’s the deal: Guido Barilla, living in a very anti-LGBT country, said some very anti-LGBT things, and then apologized because suddenly he knew his wallet would take a hit. Can we forgive him? Should we forgive him?
I, personally, say No. I mean he doesn’t care for our community, in Italy, or anywhere, and he very succinctly told us that if we don’t like his point-of-view, we can eat some other pasta.
And we are; and we will. Like maybe these ...