Too little, too late?
What company WOULDN'T see that happening and then go into damage-control mode?
The thing is though, they totally wouldn't be apologizing for anything if they weren't hurting — so it seems a little hollow to us. We mean, the chairman DID flat-out say that he would never use a gay family in his advertising!
Chairman Barilla is the 55-year-old great grandson of the company's founder, who we assume holds the same values the company has always had, handed down from generation to generation. He has since held at least eight meetings with gay organizations and activists both in Italy and in the United States because of the awful things he said.
Here's what a company spokesperson said:
"Italy is a very insular country, and in cities like Parma it's even more so. The meetings have helped open our eyes and ears to the evolution taking place in the world outside Parma."
Give us a break — your sales are hurt, so you want to change that. What won't change is the bigotry in your hearts!
"We are already working on new advertising concept that will be much more open and much more inclusive."
So what are they doing to make that happen? They're introducing an advisory board that includes American gay activist David Mixner to improve "diversity and equality in the company's workforce and culture."
He has quite the job, but is this REAL change??
They even announced the company will start to participate in the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign's corporate equality index, which rates companies' policies relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
Privately owned Barilla, made about 4 billion euros in sales last year. The U.S. is its SECOND largest market — so they can't really afford to offend everyone here who supports love and equality!
[Image via AP Images.]