- Barilla Pasta is taking measures to become more LGBT-inclusive in the wake of a September controversy, creating a Diversity & Inclusion Board and appointing its first Chief Diversity Officer.
- The move follows Chairman Guido Barilla's September criticism of same-sex adoption and statement that his pasta company would never feature a same-sex couple in its advertising, after which he added that gay people could eat someone else's pasta if they didn't like it.
- The company also plans to launch a global video contest in 2014 requiring participants to use the "multifaceted nature of pasta" to portray diversity, inclusion and equality.
These steps are a good move on the part of Barilla. Guido Barilla may not have thought what he said would foster such intense backlash against his company—if he even stopped to consider what he was saying at all—but he's at least showing he's willing to learn. That willingness to listen and learn in particular led to prominent LGBT activist David Mixner joining the new Diversity & Inclusion Board. The external experts and advocates making up the board will be tasked with steering the company in a better direction with regard to “sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights, and multicultural and intergenerational issues.”
Meanwhile, we'd be surprised if that video contest didn't produce the first Barilla ad to feature a same-sex couple.