In September, Guido Barilla outraged many pasta-lovers when he stated that his family-owned pasta company would never use a gay couple in advertising. The Italy-based pasta giant was immediately the target of angry criticism by offended gays and women alike, the out-dated description by Barilla of a traditional “family” bearing little resemblance to the diversity of today’s families.
After the outcry, Barilla pledged to meet with groups “that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended by my words.”
But gays and others raised calls to boycott Barilla products, which include cookies and bread. The calls were particularly strong in the U.S., where sales account for 10 percent of Barilla’s revenues.
The backlash worked, Barilla has a newly established board to develop diversity goals and strategies. It said in a statement Monday that former F-1 driver Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a car crash, and David Mixner, a gay rights activist, agreed to serve on the board. Barilla says new ad campaigns are planned.