Is Barilla pasta taking a page out of the Chick Fil-A anti-gay playbook? The Italian pasta company is receiving heat after its chairman said Wednesday in a radio interview that the company would "never use homosexual couples" in its advertisements.
Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla pasta company, went on the Italian radio show "La Zanzara" and proclaimed, "I would never do an advert with a homosexual family.... If the gays don't' like it they can go and eat another brand," reported The Independent UK.
Barilla's remarks sparked an outcry from gay rights groups in Italy and America, including Equality Italia, who has launched a full boycott of every Barilla product. Aureilo Mancuso, chairman of Equality Italia, released a statement on the website, which included the Twitter hash tag boicottabarilla.
Barilla issued a statement on the company Facebook page with an apology and a defense of his comments.
"I apologize if my words have led to misunderstandings or controversy, and have bumped the sensibilities of some people," wrote Barilla. "I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and for freedom of expression to anyone. I also said and repeat that I respect marriages between persons of the same sex. Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is a symbol of welcome...for all."
But the apology came too little, too late for some. The hashtag took off on Twitter Thursday morning with hundreds of tweets that read "BASTA BARILLA" (STOP, BARILLA) and images of different kinds of pasta together with the words "No matter if you like farfalle or maccheorni, just love."