Local residents upset with Barilla anti-gay comments

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - People in the Coachella Valley are reacting to anti-gay comments made by an executive of a popular pasta brand.  The Chairman of Barilla has since apologized, but that is not stopping a move to boycott the product. 

"I will never buy it again," said Palm Springs resident Izzy Mercado.

"Why would I want to support a company that doesn't support me?" said valley visitor Jon Pennycuff.

On Wednesday the Guido Barilla says the backbone of one of the best known pasta companies in the world, is its family image.  He told an Italian radio station his company wouldn't feature same-sex families in its ads.  He said that if gay customers don't like it, they can, "eat someone else's pasta."

"His opinions probably should have been kept to himself," said Cathedral City resident Patrick Frano.

"As soon as I heard that I just ran into the closed and I found two boxes and I just dumped them, I can't believe anybody would bring that up, especially the CEO, is he nuts," said Mercado.

People we spoke with say they have power as a consumer to take their business elsewhere. 

"I used to buy that pasta quite a bit but I won't buy it again," said Cathedral City resident Jim Wood. 

However, some people said a boycott is not the right answer. 

"A lot of times you just have to let things go," said Palm Springs visitor Lynn Geiger.  "We all love everybody, forgive everybody and keep on moving."

Barilla's largest competitor, Buitoni, is also weighing in.  They posted a picture on it's Facebook page with the words "pasta for all."

"Great! I'll buy that one," said Mercado.

Barilla apologized through a statement Thursday but today released a video on it's Facebook page. 

Guido Barilla said in part,"I have heard the countless reactions around the world to my words, which have depressed and saddened me, it is clear that I have a lot to learn."

Barilla went on to say that he will meet with groups that represent the evolution of family.  We assume that includes meeting with GLAAD,  who has extended an invitation to sit down to talk with gay, lesbian and transgender families.

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