A campaign calling for the firing of the person responsible for a controversial Eataly advertisement was launched Wednesday by a local Italian-American organization.
The advertisement placed in the window of the River North marketplace reportedly reads “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, WORTH THE SMELL” in large print, followed by an image of white truffles.
The sign, which some believe to be an offensive message about Italians, continues with smaller print, “Fresh white truffles are hunted in the wild forests of central Italy only a few months out of the year. Once you taste the aromatic tuber, you will want to bring this well-shaven Italian with you everywhere.”
Lou Rago is the leader of Chicago's Italian American Human Relations Foundation who is pushing to get the employee responsible for approving the sign fired and make a formal apology.
Rago said he reached out to Eataly with his concerns about how the ad stereotyped Italians. The conversation did not go as he had hoped, he said.
"She said Mr. Rago, 'I really appreciate your concerns but let me explain to you what we meant by the ad,'" Rago said. "If you have to explain to me what you meant by the ad then it’s not a very good ad."
Eataly did not immediately respond to NBC 5's request for comment.
According to its website, Eataly first opened in 2007 in Turin, Italy. Oscar Farinetti said he wanted to create “a place to learn about food and, through food, about life,” the site states. Since then, it has manifested into more than 35 locations across the world.