Barilla | David Mixner | News

Barilla Pasta Announces Major 'Diversity and Inclusion' Initiative in Response to Anti-Gay Controversy

Barilla, the international pasta maker who came under fire in September after its chairman Guido Barilla told a radio host that gay people could find another brand if they didn't like the fact that the company would never make an advertisement with gay people in it, today announced a new Diversity & Inclusion Board, a Global Diversity Officer, and participation in the HRC Corporate Equality Index.

BarillaThe new initiatives are a result of meetings with civil and human rights leaders in Italy and the United States, it says.

Said Chief Executive Officer Claudio Colzani in a press release:

“Diversity, inclusion and equality have long been grounded in Barilla’s culture, values and code of conduct. They are reflected in our policies and the benefits we provide to all employees, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. At the same time, we are committed to promoting diversity further because we firmly believe that it’s the right thing to do.”

The steps include:

- A newly-established Diversity & Inclusion Board, comprising external experts and advocates who will help Barilla establish concrete goals and strategies for improving diversity and equality in the company’s workforce and culture with regard to sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights and multicultural and intergenerational issues. Individuals who have accepted positions on the Board to date include, David Mixner, a prominent global leader in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and Alex Zanardi, a Paralympic gold medalist.

- Appointment of the company’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Talita Erickson, a Brazilian-born attorney who for the past year has served as General Counsel to Barilla America.

- Participation in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) created by the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign to measure and rate large companies on their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) employees.

4_barillaSaid Mixner: “I am encouraged by Barilla’s commitment to seek outside guidance and advice on these crucial issues and pleased to be a part of it. I am also impressed with the willingness of the Chairman and company to listen and learn from LGBT community leaders and work towards improving diversity, inclusion and equality.”

The company adds:

Barilla will also launch a global online contest in 2014 designed to engage people on diversity, inclusion and equality. Entrants will be asked to create short videos that represent the multifaceted nature of pasta, which will be submitted to the web community to be liked, shared and voted. The videos will be then judged by an expert panel and the winners will receive awards.

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  1. They are dead to me.

    Posted by: Eric | Nov 4, 2013 10:07:51 AM

  2. The saying that comes to my mind is "a day late and a dollar short", I can buy good pasta that doesn't have this company's baggage, the ceo or president that said gays can by another brand and I will do just that. I am not naive enough to believe there is any change in the management attitude of this or any company that has show it's true colors to the glbt community and that includes Target.

    Posted by: lk | Nov 4, 2013 10:08:46 AM

  3. Too little too late. Bye bye bigots.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Nov 4, 2013 10:09:30 AM

  4. Too little, too late. I will NEVER by your brand again.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Nov 4, 2013 10:09:51 AM

  5. I'm not buying this nor their pasta until Barilla starts running commercials that include gay families. That's what he said they'd never do, so inclusive advertising would be the proof.

    Posted by: woody | Nov 4, 2013 10:10:17 AM

  6. Sales must really be tanking.

    Posted by: jeffg166 | Nov 4, 2013 10:16:21 AM

  7. Contests??? How about an AD, Barilla, to show us that the Company totally rebukes the bigotry displayed by the Chairman!

    Posted by: bear | Nov 4, 2013 10:17:11 AM

  8. Already returned all our Barilla and found a local store that makes fresh pasta that is worlds better! Supporting a local shop and taking business away from biggots....

    And I spoke to a manager at a major supermarket chain to see if they noticed less Barilla being purchased and he said that it is BEYOND obvious that people are not buying it.

    Posted by: C.J. | Nov 4, 2013 10:24:50 AM

  9. It looks like CEO Claudio Colzani and others have really scrambled to repair their image, but I believe Guido should be the one apologizing and Guido should be making any announcements about Barilla policy changes.

    However, like others have already said, "too late".

    Posted by: rroberts | Nov 4, 2013 10:32:13 AM

  10. I live near the Barilla plant outside Rochester, N.Y., and Barilla has been on the cut-rate shelves of local dollar stores since Guido opened his big bocca.

    Posted by: woody | Nov 4, 2013 10:35:34 AM

  11. They can do whatever they want, but Guido Barilla has made it clear that he doesn't want my gay dollars. I'll adhere to his wishes.

    Posted by: Ray | Nov 4, 2013 10:40:38 AM

  12. I think this is nice but only on the surface. It's a clear PR move and an attempt to polish their image. However, it doesn't ring true unless they fire Guido Barilla.

    In other words, I'm not buying what they are doing and I won't even consider buying their products until Guido is gone and has absolutely nothing to do with the company.

    Posted by: Jude | Nov 4, 2013 10:48:23 AM

  13. if they/he learn from this process and their company's policies are transformed over a period of time , progress has been made
    time to move on and educate the next ?

    Posted by: dennis | Nov 4, 2013 10:58:02 AM

  14. Like pasta, let's throw all of this at a wall and see if it sticks. (pause) Probably, not.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Nov 4, 2013 11:01:54 AM

  15. I am still somewhat confused as to what the face of this company hoped to gain (or since then lose) by making such a bigoted statement.

    Was it in the hope of garnering more anti-gay customers? Even that wouldn't be fruitful, as there's no way the anti-gay bigots could make up the loss the company had to see coming of its customers.

    Posted by: Gaiboi | Nov 4, 2013 11:03:36 AM

  16. Jude, that will never happen. It's a family-owned and run biz.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Nov 4, 2013 11:04:06 AM

  17. I agree with all the "too little, too late" comments. But I can't help noting that all the gay Uncle Toms (Uncle Bruces?) who keep bleating that it does no good for us--that in fact it actually hurts us in some mysterious way--have been proved wrong still again. Barilla is clearly feeling the heat, scrambling to try and fix the economic/PR disaster. We need to keep the pressure on them, and on all the corporate sponsors of the Sochi Olympics.

    Posted by: jomicur | Nov 4, 2013 11:11:25 AM

  18. Looks like the damage control is in full swing!

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Nov 4, 2013 11:12:25 AM

  19. What will the OMM out there feed their children ?

    Oh dear.....they may have to learn how to cook and prepare their own meals----

    ..........and stay off the Internet.

    Posted by: anthony | Nov 4, 2013 11:27:57 AM

  20. Sean Maloney, I know. But that is what they should do if they want any credibility to what they are trying to do now.

    Posted by: Jude | Nov 4, 2013 11:31:22 AM

  21. I want to see some ads in the MAINSTREAM media or I'll continue my boycott.

    Posted by: throwslikeagirl | Nov 4, 2013 11:31:53 AM

  22. “Diversity, inclusion and equality have long been grounded in Barilla’s culture, values and code of conduct."

    If this obvious corporate marketing BS was true, none of this would be neccessary.

    Posted by: Kieran | Nov 4, 2013 11:31:53 AM

  23. We really should support Barilla. When homophobic companies make a change, we should encourage that. If we don't, then the homophobes win because companies will see no benefit to changing.

    It's better that wisdom comes late than not at all.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 4, 2013 11:46:12 AM

  24. Interesting that in all of that babble, NOTHING was said about rectifying the issue that brought all of this to the forefront in the first place; the refusal to make a gay inclusive ad. That should be a required part of their rehabilitation and the ad shouldn't be confined to LOGO. It should play on network television during prime-time. And then we should expect the same from other companies that we've never demanded, or even asked, equal representation from. Where are the inclusive Coca-Cola ads? What about Kraft; Nike; Microsoft; Apple; AT&T and all of the AMERICAN companies that never place gay people/couples in their ads?

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Nov 4, 2013 11:52:07 AM

  25. Are we all saying that it is impossible to take back any transgressions ? Can no person or company ever turn around and right their wrongs ? Our goal is to punish for life ... Their is zero redemption ? As For Barella , They need to begin a large, gay family, ad program and make a negative into a positive

    Posted by: MarkBoston | Nov 4, 2013 11:56:44 AM

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