Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla Group, which makes Barilla pasta products, opine on gays and pasta. The only thing worse than Barilla's original comments is the sad fact that he may really believe that gay people don't see through his empty apology and will start buying Barilla pasta again. Think again. The gay community is sharp. We've been through enough painful comings out to recognize what true contrition looks and feels like.
Barilla claimed that his pasta is anathema to the gay lifestyle and boasted that his company would never make a commercial featuring a gay family, so we said, "Fork you, Barilla," and decided to make our own commercial, one that celebrates love. So this past weekend Mister Chase, a talented New York-based singer/songwriter with a history of making great videos about topical social issues, teamed up with the MISTER app, which I run, to create a video that even a repentant Barilla would never make. Enjoy! (WARNING: NSFW)
I'm very proud of the millions of gays, lesbians and straight allies who stood up to Barilla's unacceptable intolerance. In these days of social media, companies are relying more than ever on their leaders to communicate their brand essence and put a face on their products. Leaders and corporate owners can become powerful brand ambassadors, but they can just as easily poison their brands and businesses irreparably for many years to come. We do not quickly forgive corporations and brands that see fit to dismiss us as consumers and as equals.
Please urge your friends, local supermarkets and favorite restaurants to use pasta made by one of many great pasta companies that don't think that pasta and amore are incompatible. Remember, there are many ways that we stand up for ourselves and our community. Some choose to donate to worthy causes, while others choose to take riskier and more controversial actions. We still have much to fight for, and we need many types of protests and protesters. In the big scheme of things, choosing a different pasta seems like a very small price to pay to make a difference.
So please, please, choose your noodles with care! Barilla's expiration date has come and gone.