The apologies keep coming from Barilla and its CEO — who triggered worldwide outrage when he suggested gay people buy someone else's pasta. But it's unclear whether any apology will be enough to stop the growing boycott.
The latest is a video shared today on the company's Facebook page in which chairman Guido Barilla swears he's "never discriminated against anyone" and promises to meet with LGBT activists. He had already apologized via a series of statements, including one in which he claimed to "respect" gay marriages and gay people.
"Yesterday I apologized for offending many people around the world. Today I am repeating that apology," he says in the video. "Through my entire life I have always respected every person I've met, including gays and their families, without any distinction. I've never discriminated against anyone."
Guido Barilla implied during an interview with Italian radio show La Zanzara on Thursday that he does discriminate when creating advertising for his company. When asked whether the world's largest pasta producer would feature gay couples in its advertisements, Guido Barilla said, "I would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual couple, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them," according to a Reuters translation. "Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role. … If [gays] don't like it, they can go eat another brand."
Many LGBT consumers and their allies have opted to take Guido Barilla up on his suggestion to "go eat another brand." One Italian-American mother posted a petition on Change.org calling for Stop & Shop to drop the brand. But hers was only one of many petitions popping up.
An American LGBT rights group called on the company to show it is serious about an apology by including sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy for employees. Freedom to Work points out that the current policy prohibits discrimation based on race and religion, but not sexual orientation or gender identity.
"I have heard the countless reactions around the world to my words, which have depressed and saddened me," Guido Barilla says in his video message. "It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family. In the coming weeks, I pledge to meet representatives of the group that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended by my words."
Watch the complete video below: