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Barilla Boycott: CEO's Anti-Gay Comments Spark Backlash

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Italian pastamaker Barilla is in trouble after its CEO made anti-gay comments during a radio interview. (Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Italian pastamaker Barilla is in trouble after its CEO made anti-gay comments during a radio interview. (Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Italian pasta brand Barilla is facing an international backlash and calls for a boycott after its CEO made anti-gay comments during an Italian radio interview.

“I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand," said Guido Barilla, the head of one of Italy's largest pasta makers.

“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company,” he added. He also attacked gay adoption in the interview.

UPDATE: Barilla has apologized on its Canadian and American Facebook pages. We've embedded the apology below.

"We accept the invitation from the Barilla owner to not eat his pasta," Aurelio Mancuso head of gay rights group Equality Italia told Reuters.

Progressive Italian parliamentarians have also called for a boycott of the brand and many abroad have also joined in the backlash.

"With so many pasta brands out there gay customers can easily show their disgust the next time they go grocery shopping. These comments will surely cost Barilla a pretty penne…," a spokesman for UK gay rights group Stonewall told the Huffington Post UK.

Barilla is also facing a backlash in Canada. Messages in French and English have been posted to the company's Canadian Facebook page calling for a boycott of the company and related products.

"Barilla wants a media war? let there be a war," one Facebook message read.

The company had not posted anything to its Canadian Facebook page as of Thursday afternoon. But Barilla issued an apology in Italian which was translated by Huffington Post:

Regarding my comments at the radio program La Zanzara, I apology if my words generated misunderstandings or controversy or if they hurt some people's feelings. In the interview I just wanted to underline the centrality of the woman's role in the family. To be clear, I just want to specify that I do have great respect of every person, without any kind of distinction. I do respect gay people and everybody's freedom of expression. I also said I do respect gay marriage. Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.

The #BoycottBarilla tag on twitter is also full of messages condemning the brand and its CEO. See some of the reactions below.

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The brand posted an apology on its Canadian and US pages late on Thursday.

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