Sorry we’re late to the noodle-sucking party!
As you probably know, since the SorryWatch community sent us dozens of emails about it, the chairman of Barilla pasta last week told an Italian radio show that Barilla “likes the traditional family” so there won’t be any gays in its advertising. And if the gays are offended, “they can always go eat someone else’s pasta.” Americablog, which broke this story like a piece of raw capellini, stayed on it, cataloguing each of Guido Barilla’s four inept semi-apologies.
Spaghetti-limp semi-apology #1! “With reference to statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they have hurt the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family.”
SorryWatch analysis: We could play Bad Apology Bingo with this one! We have “apologize if,” “misunderstanding,” and “what I meant was”! Che vergogna, Guido, try again. As we’ve discussed, a good apology owns the offense, says exactly what you’re sorry for, acknowledges the effect your bad behavior had on others, shows you know how you screwed up, includes a promise not to do it again and makes reparations. Let’s see: no, no, no, no, no, and no.
Spaghetti-limp semi-apology #2! This was in Italian (translated by Americablog) on Barilla’s Facebook page:
With reference to my statement yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, and if they have offended the sensibilities of some people.
For clarity, I wish to point out that I have the deepest respect for all persons, without distinction of any kind.
I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and for the freedom of expression of everyone.
I also said and I repeat that I respect marriages between people of the same sex.
Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.
SorryWatch analysis: A return of “sorry if,” with the addition of the Bingo fave “some of my best friends are black/lady/gay”! And Guido, nice work slipping in that “respect for the freedom of expression in everyone”; we see what you did there. Your freedom of expression isn’t being respected because people are mad that you freely expressed your homophobia, and it RILLY RILLY HURTS! (How do you say “cry me a river” in Italian? I’d look it up on Google Translate but it would probably say “weeping give to me tributaries” or something.) And then you went and really screwed the pooch with your company’s having “chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.” OK HEY WHAT NOW?
Look, here’s a family!
It’s my brother’s family. Who don’t exist or don’t count, apparently.
By now, there were full-throated calls for a boycott in both English and Italian, including this statement from Alessandro Zan, a member of Italian Parliament: “I’m boycotting Barilla and I invite other MPs…to do the same. I’ve already changed pasta brands. Barilla is terrible quality.” (OOH BURN.) (And so very Italian! “You are hateful and prejudiced and your pasta BLOWS.”)
Spaghetti-limp apology #3! “I’m sorry if my comments…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.” Oh, Guido, just wrap your mouth in a No-Boil Lasagna Noodle (you’re issuing enough hot air to steam that thing into flaccidity anyway) and STOP TALKING.
SorryWatch analysis: As women, we are honored by your statement. HAHAHAHAHA JK. Let’s see, Mr. Barilla offers still another “sorry if,” along with an “if I’ve offended” (you know you HAVE offended, why the “if”?) and a different attempt at explaining intention, this time with more vagina. Hey, Guido, here’s a beautiful children’s book about the central role of the woman in the family! You’ll love it!
Oh wait, no you won’t, since you also say you don’t believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt (“I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose”). Even though it has double the women, double the fun. So much for their “central role” in the family.
To that end, please enjoy the masculine stylings of one of the comments on the Italian FB page, shared here courtesy of Americablog:
Translation: “A single and childless heterosexual man can’t cook Barilla pasta by himself because Barilla pasta is genetically modified to only cook al dente in the presence of a heterosexual woman (but only if they are good women — bad women have to eat pasta from the discount store)”
Spaghetti-limp apology #4: Barilla USA tried to defuse the sitch with its own statement in big letters at the top of its home page: ”At Barilla, we care about everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation. Our mission is to help people – every single person – live better, by bringing wellbeing and the joy of eating into their everyday lives.” The statement concludes, “We will take advantage of the recent incident to learn and to promote even harder the diversity path that Barilla has undertaken. To all our friends, family, employees and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”
SorryWatch analysis: The words are pretty good, but you can’t apologize for someone else’s prejudice. Or their poor apologies. And the fact that you say “the recent incident” without actually naming it, or naming the individual involved, who is, after all, YOUR CEO, doesn’t help your case. The fish rots from the head down, and it makes your fusilli con pesce spada taste disgusting.
Finally, courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign, here are five pastas that scored well on Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. (Alas, my own hatred and bigotry means that this list contains four pastas. I’m not eating Chef Boyardee even if Zachary Quinto brings it to my house. In a Speedo.) Or you could buy Bertolli, which ran an ad featuring a gay couple several years ago.
Hate is unappetizing.