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Pasta Maker Barilla Makes Antigay Comments

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by Blake Ellis, CNN

Italian pasta maker Barilla is in hot water for antigay remarks its president made in an interview last month.

Company president Guido Barilla said on an Italian radio program 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!”

Barilla issued a statement, titled “Guido Barilla’s Clarification on Gays,” apologizing for the remarks.

“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.”

The apology wasn’t enough for LGBT advocacy groups.

“These insulting antigay comments will not only lead to LGBT people skipping Barilla, but their family members, friends, and co-workers 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 antigay laws, and customers boycotted Chic-fil-A after its CEO expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage.

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