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Barilla faces boycott over CEO’s comments about gays October 7, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Pasta company Barilla is being targeted by a boycott after CEO Guido Barilla told a radio show that he did not support featuring anything but a “classic family” in ads for its products. Barilla stated, “For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company. I would not do it but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals who have the right to do what they want without bothering others … [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family.” Asked what he would say to members of the GLBTQ community who might take offense to his comments, Barila added that they could eat another pasta.

Barilla later apologized for his comments, especially after it grew clear that the public was outraged. He released a statement, saying, “Through my entire life I have always respected every person I’ve met, including gays and their families, without any distinctions. I’ve never discriminated against anyone.” Barilla added that he’d been depressed by the reaction to his comments,

What can PR experts learn from Barilla. According to one author from prnewsonline.com, a few tips might include: providing greater media training at work, challenging the boss and supporting it, and providing feedback to managers.

For more in this story, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is there any justification for Barilla’s original choice to exclude homosexuals from company advertising?

2.  Is Barilla’s statement unforgivable? If not, how did he manage in his apology above?

3.  How should companies proceed with questions about GLBTQ issues?

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