sorry if

I see that the pasta maker Barilla is providing further evidence that Italy remains a bastion of conservative attitudes towards equal rights.

After declaring that Barilla would only show a ‘classic family’ on its packaging, Guido Barilla – the head of Barilla pasta – issued the following apology:

I apologise if my words generated misunderstandings or arguments, or if they offended the sensibilities of some people.

This is the type of statement that now seems to pass for an apology. I am sorry if [insert words here that allude to the hyper-sensitivity of those who have genuinely been offended]. This is not an apology as it takes no responsibility for the situation. When someone says, “I’m sorry if …”, it’s in the same ball park as someone saying “I’m not racist, but … ”

An apology from Barilla – if they were to take responsibility for their actions and words – would go something like:

Barilla is sorry for the statements we made about only representing classic families on our packaging. We understand that by stating this we were explicitly undermining the dignity and human rights of gay people around the world. As an indication of how important human rights are to our ethos as a company we will immediately include representations of all kinds of families on our pasta packaging. We sincerely apologise for out actions and take full responsibility for the damage they have caused.

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