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Long Island LGBT Leaders Blast Barilla CEO

A prominent business leader calls Guido Barilla an 'idiot,' while the head of a major LGBT organization said the pasta company's chief is out of touch with reality.

Barilla pasta, on sale at the Deer Park Stop & Shop this morning.
Barilla pasta, on sale at the Deer Park Stop & Shop this morning.
Less than 24 hours after the chief executive of pasta giant Barilla said only traditional families would star in his company's commercials, gay leaders on Long Island fired back, calling the comments stupid and insensitive.

In a Thursday interview on Italian radio, Guido Barilla said "I think the family that we speak to is a classic family." He went on to say if gays didn't approve, they could eat another company's pasta.

That's exactly what David Kilmnick, the chief executive of Long Island GLBT Services Network intends to do.

"If he is going to bash an entire community of people for absolutely no reason, he is not too smart of a CEO." Kilmnick said. "His comments were wrong, stupid and insensitive. The next time I walk down the pasta aisle at my supermarket, I'll walk past Barilla and I hope others make the same decision."

Kilmnick added that the Long Island GLBT Services Network is constantly asked to help provide support and services for LGBT-headed families, so "his concept of a traditional family is out of touch with reality."

Jon Cooper, a former Suffolk County legislator and president of Spectronics Corp. in Westbury, said he has Barilla products in his house. Those boxes will be returned this weekend.

"I cleared out my shelf last night," said Cooper, who is a gay Dad raising five kids in Huntington. "The only way for Barilla to get ahead of this is to either fire their idiot chairman or do exactly what he said they would never do, which is run a television commercial that features a gay family. This is going to hurt Barilla's bottom line."

Cooper also said this troubled him deeply because Barilla's chief was attacking his family and kids.

"The first thing my husband and I did was clear out our pantry of Barilla products," Cooper said. "We will return it to the supermarket tomorrow and buy other pasta products and donate that to a local food pantry."



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