Pasta maker Barilla under fire for anti-gay comments

guido barilla
Consumers are protesting pasta maker Barilla after controversial comments from the company's CEO.

Italian pasta maker Barilla is in hot water for anti-gay remarks its president made in an interview this week.

Guido Barilla, president of Barilla, said on an Italian radio program Wednesday that he wouldn't feature same-sex couples in his company's commercials because he prefers the "traditional" family.

Soon after, LGBT advocates began calling for a boycott of the company. Many flocked to Twitter using the hashtag #BoicottaBarilla.

"Sigh. I'd like my pasta without the side of homophobia, thanks," one Twitter user wrote.

Another directed a tweet at the company: "Dear @BarillaUS I will no longer be feeding my LGBT family your pasta. We are a @Bertolli family now!"

Related: Bars worldwide boycott Russian vodka

Barilla issued a statement on Thursday, titled "Guido Barilla's Clarification on gays," apologizing for the remarks.

Same-sex couple: 'Freedom is priceless'
Same-sex couple: 'Freedom is priceless'

"I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone's sensitivity," the statement says. "I have the utmost respect for anyone, without distinction of any kind. I have the utmost respect for gay people and for everyone's right to express themselves. I've also said -- and I would like to reiterate -- that I respect gay marriages. In its advertising, Barilla represents the family -- because it's what welcomes everyone."

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The apology wasn't enough for LGBT advocacy groups.

"These insulting anti-gay comments will not only lead to LGBT people skipping Barilla, but their family members, friends and coworkers as well," said a spokesman for gay rights group GLAAD. "Homophobia is bad for business -- plain and simple."

This isn't the first time consumers have boycotted a company over its stance on LGBT rights. Bars around the world have stopped serving Russian vodka in protest of the country's anti-gay laws, and customers boycotted Chic-fil-A after its CEO expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage.

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