The president of the Italian pasta company Barilla has apologized for saying the company would never use gay couples in advertisements.
In a radio interview Wednesday, Guido Barilla, who runs the pasta company with his two brothers, said his pasta is for traditional families and if gay people didn't like that, they can eat other brands, ABC News reported.
Barilla issued an apology Friday.
"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."
He said he has "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 said.
Gay rights activists have launched a boycott of the pasta, The Guardian, Britain, reported.
"Accepting the invitation of Barilla's owner to not eat his pasta, we are launching a boycott campaign against all his products," said Aurelio Mancuso, chairman of Equality Italia.
Within hours, "biocottabarilla," or boycott Barilla, was trending on Twitter.
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Original headline: Barilla apologizes for remarks about gay people
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