Rival pasta brands have cleverly seized on comments made by Barilla's chairman after he sensationally said his company would never allow gay couples in its advertising.
The world’s largest pasta maker is facing a furious backlash after the company’s chairman revealed he would refuse to use homosexual couples in the firm's adverts.
Bertolli Germany quickly responded with an ad that translates to "pasta and love for all," including pairs of the same types of pasta walking side-by-side down a spoon.
Bertolli Germany quickly responded with an ad that translates to "pasta and love for all," including pairs of the same types of pasta walking side-by-side down a spoon. The new ad, which was posted on Facebook, already has over 4,000 likes.
On Buitoni’s Facebook page, they posted an image featuring Buitoni pasta with a simple message: “Pasta For All.”
The chairman of Barilla Group has since issued a semi-apology but has argued he's sticking to his stance.
"I apologize if my words generated misunderstandings or controversy or if they hurt some people's feelings," Guido Barilla wrote in a post on the company's Facebook page Thursday.
“I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family… if the gays don’t like it they can go and eat another brand,” Guido Barilla told Italy’s Radio24 La Zanzara show on Wednesday, in response to why the company does not feature adverts with same sex couples.
He added: "We have a slightly different culture, for us, the 'sacral family' remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family.
"You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this."
Barilla, who says he respects gay marriage, then aired his views on gay adoption, stating: “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose.”
In Britain a spokesman for leading gay rights charity Stonewall told HuffPost UK: "It’s odd that in such a tough economy Barilla is alienating huge numbers of customers in this way.
"With so many pasta brands out there gay customers can easily show their disgust the next time they go grocery shopping. These comments will surely cost Barilla a pretty penne…"