Barilla, the world’s largest pasta manufacturer, is now facing a global boycott after its chairman’s homophobic comments. According to the Huffington Post, the Italian company’s chairman, Guido Barilla, told the Italian radio station Radio24 that “our concept is not that of a gay family.” He added that if the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community does not agree with his stance, then “they can choose another pasta.”
Many companies and organizations are objecting to Barilla’s views. Aurelio Mancuso from the advocacy group Equality of Italy said Barilla’s comments were “an offensive provocation.” Mancuso ordered an immediate boycott of all Barilla products.
But Barilla is not the only company with leadership tainted by prejudice. In fact, several other companies harbor similar anti-gay views. It is up to the consumer to be aware of these positions and do his or her part in eradicating this prejudice.
Though some people argue boycotting a company only hurts employees, money from the sale of products from discriminatory companies can actually go to support groups who work against those who are considered different, which means people could be contributing to an anti-gay agenda if they purchase Barilla products. Fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A announced its opposition to gay marriage back in 2012. This very public opposition to gay marriage proved the direct association between consumer to social issues. By buying a chicken sandwich from this company, customers’ money went to organizations such as the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council, all of which have clear anti-gay agendas.
In July 2012, The Jim Henson Company, which is behind the Muppets, cut all ties with Chick-fil-A due to its opposition to gay marriage. The two companies once had a history of collaboration. According to the Huffington Post, The Jim Henson Company donated all its proceeds from Chick-fil-A to the charity Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD).
Target Corporation, for example, is another massive company with an anti-gay position. According to Right Wing Watch, Target gave $31,200 to anti-gay candidates last election, such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who according to Right Wing Watch, is “one of the most extreme anti-gay culture warriors in the country.” Right Wing Watch said that in the first half of this year, Target gave $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association and spent nearly $3 million this year on behalf of Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign.
Buying products from any discriminatory company, whether it be Barilla or Chick-fil-A or Target or countless others, directs money to organizations with prejudiced beliefs. The consumer must be responsible and aware of such affiliations. It is vital that all consumers not only reanalyze the quality of the company of such products, but also the value of his or her beliefs. It is unacceptable to live in world full of bigotry, and the ethical thing to do is to take one’s business elsewhere.
Zoe Haddad is a junior majoring in critical studies.