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Monday, November 4, 2013

Barilla Pasta Is Reconsidering Gay Outreach

Posted by on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Remember how the chairman of Barilla pasta said he prefers "traditional" families and that gay people should "eat another brand of pasta?" ThinkProgress's Zach Ford says the company is trying to make amends:

Among the changes is the creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Board that will include external experts and advocates who help Barilla improve the company’s culture with regard to “sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights, and multicultural and intergenerational issues.” Among those who have joined that board is veteran LGBT activist David Mixner, who said he was impressed by the chairman’s willingness “to listen and learn from LGBT community leaders.”

This is a friendly reminder that sometimes, no matter what the depressing concern trolls in the comments say, boycotts do work. I don't think this news alone should be reason enough to end the Barilla boycott, but it is at least a sign that they're listening to criticism, and that they're motivated to try to do something about it. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, remember that there are other perfectly good pastas out there that aren't homophobic:


Comments (17) RSS

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rootwinterguard 1
Does it not ring as disingenuous that somehow forming a *committee* with a pleasant, inclusive sounding name doesn't make the people who profit from this company any less hateful douchebags? Isn't this just straight-up, PR-driven pink washing?
Posted by rootwinterguard on November 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Posted by MacCrocodile on November 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3

Punishing people for the sins in their heart is a hangup of Christian morality. Does anybody really give a shit about the private thoughts of the guys making your toothpaste or pasta or snow tires?

The disupte here is entirely over what our social norms are. Marginalizing gay people is -- in 2013 -- like farting in an elevator. If that's how you're going to behave, don't expect the public to like your brand. Want a popular brand? Behave yourself with a minimum of civility.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on November 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
biffp 4
It's good pasta, do ladies still wear collared shirts to harvest grain in Southern Italy?
Posted by biffp on November 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
raggeddog 5
So is DeCecco (or any other brand) demonstrably "non-homophoic" or just not vocally homophobic? Because I think that matters if you're going to tout one thing as an alternative to the boycotted brand. Not saying I know either way since I haven't looked into it extensively, but a quick google of "dececco pasta gay" basically just pulls up all the "boycott barilla" pages - nothing about DeCecco being supportive of LGBT causes or rights.
Posted by raggeddog on November 4, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
When I buy some random thing in the supermarket, say, shaving soap, I'd rather not think about the politics of the CEO of the company that made it. But when Mr. Barilla makes a public statement laying out the social values his company stands for -- in particular saying "we" and not "I" -- and then adding "if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer", he makes it impossible for me NOT to boycott his company.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on November 4, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 7
Boycotts do work. Skip Enders Game.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM · Report this
I'm not sure it's the effect of a formal, organized, declared boycott so much as a lot of consumers having formed an opinion that Barilla has established for itself the corporate identity of "asshole", and they don't need to buy "asshole" pasta. It's even possible there was no sales effect at all, but the executives are sick of everyone they meet asking them about their corporate identity of "asshole".

In a sense, Barilla might prefer an organized boycott: one of those might be called off through negotiation with acknowledged leaders of the boycotting community. In this case, it will be difficult for Barilla to do decent things noisily enough to inspire trust in a lot of people, even as they so easily inspired revulsion in a lot of people.
Posted by Warren Terra on November 4, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
theophrastus 9
stumbling through my local Metropolitan (doing my worst "The Dude" impression) recently and i noticed all the barillaâ„¢ products with significant (special sale) mark-downs and not moving. So... yep, "boycotts do work", (at least in furiously aware Seattle)
Posted by theophrastus on November 4, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Politics aside, de cecco is better.
Posted by jeffy on November 4, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11

As someone (native Italian) once said to me, it's the mixture of things that makes a good minestrone.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 12
@ 5, not being demostrably homophobic is to be taken as pro-LGBT until they do something to show that they aren't.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
@6: Pretty much.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on November 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
sperifera 14
It's going to be tough for Barilla to put that cat back into the bag. Their customers tried other brands and found that there wasn't a demonstrable difference between them, so poof! the Barilla "magic" is gone....
Posted by sperifera on November 4, 2013 at 9:10 PM · Report this
@5 Why should you expect De Cecco to be actively supporting gay rights? It's a brand of pasta, for god's sake, and it doesn't run television ads where it could discriminate and be asshole-ish.

The important thing is that Barilla is demonstrably anti-gay, and it isn't even a good brand! De Cecco or anything produced in Gragnano (Liguori, Garofalo, ecc.) are the way to go.
Posted by GentRussel on November 5, 2013 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Awesome. When Barilla starts putting their money where their mouth is though, I'll start buying them again.
Posted by treehugger on November 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
I made this exact choice in the market yesterday. Barilla was on sale. I myself bought a box of De Cecco and a box of Ronzoni.
Posted by cracked on November 9, 2013 at 10:10 PM · Report this

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