Pasta maker Barilla has got itself into hot water after its chairman said gays had no place in its advertising.
Guido Barilla said in a radio interview that one of the sacred values to his company was that of the traditional family, the Guardian website reports.
While he respected everyone and the right to gay marriage, he was opposed to adoption by gay couples.
“I would not [feature gay families in advertisements], but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals who have the right to do what they want without bothering others… [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family,” Mr Barilla said.
If people were unhappy with that view they could choose a different pasta, Mr Barilla said.
His comments caused an outrage and homosexual lobby groups in Italy launched a boycott of Barilla, the world's leading pasta maker.
Within hours, the hashtag 'boicotta-barilla' was trending on Twitter, the Guardian said.
Mr Barilla immediately apologised, and said he had just wanted to draw attention to the family and women's central role within it.