Barilla's President Guido Barilla is apologizing for the remarks he made regarding gay couples.
On Thursday, Barilla told Italian radio program "La Zanzara," that he would never make a commercial spot featuring a homosexual family.
"Not out of a lack of respect but because I don't see it like they do. [My idea of] family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role," Barilla said. "We have a different concept with regard to the gay family. That's fine if they like our pasta and our communication, they can eat them. Otherwise they can eat another pasta. You can't always please everyone."
But after Aurelio Mancuso, the president of an Italian gay-rights group, took him up on his offer by saying he accepted his invitation "no to eat his pasta" and the term #boicottabarilla (boycott Barilla) began trending on Twitter, Barilla quickly addressed his previous statement.
"With reference to remarks made yesterday to an Italian radio program, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone's sensitivity," Barilla said in a statement. "In the interview I simply wished to underline the central role the woman plays within the family."
The statement continued:
"For clarity, I would like to point out that:
- 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 and what has always been identified with our brand."
Barilla Group is privately held and was created in 1877.