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Barilla launches massive diversity campaign

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  1. I have to say I'm not used to companies trying to right their wrongs. Does this mean I can buy Barilla again without it weighing on my conscience?

    I survived a pregnancy without ChikFilA. (And countless school spirit nights have been foregone, just a donation to the PTA directly with letters of moral indignation at their need to pander for money over the moral cost to the kids).

    I say that to say I just don't know. I may have to wait for the next HRC business index before I start buying again.
    What about you?

    1. As consumers, we demanded that this company strongly reconsider solutions that align with equality and fairness for all consumers. So, how can we fault them for trying.

      Perhaps their actions will lead other large corporations to follow suit. Perhaps they will put their money were their customers want them to. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson about judgement and patience...when the story here is clearly far from over.

      Thank you for sharing the link, I'll be following along in the hopes a better outcome results.

      1. Good for them.

        1. Gosh. And to think we almost crucified the guy :-D

          Lesson learned. Good job.

          1. Newly enlightened and responsive - I can eat my linguini with clams again without being stoned to death here?

            1. I told you so!

              1. Finally an American-style crisis team to the rescue.

                12 Replies
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Good PR crisis management - from an old PR "gal" who's been to that rodeo.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    Now let's see if they back it up.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      They've taken some active steps. I'm not sure what "back it up" would look like.

                      Sometimes a corporate board has to silence a CEO who has a strong, but unpopular or un productive point of view. That's the case with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey who has shot himself (and the company) in the foot on more than one occasion.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        Oh, I know. And I do feel quite positive about it. 'Course now CHs have convinced me that Barilla isn't all that good :)

                        1. re: c oliver

                          In the case of the no boil lasagna, they're top notch.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Ever since learning to make pasta, I won't use anything but.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I don't eat pasta as a rule, but Barilla comes closer to the taste of texture of fresh pasta than anything dried on the market. It's also thinner and much lower carb, so even if I eat a bit of it, not much damage done.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I've got to tell you this, I like using home made pasta for baking purposes and or ravioli's. Lasagna noodles, and manicotti shells I like to make homemade. But when it comes to linguine's, penne, rigatoni or pasta for boiling (outside of ravi') my homemade pasta is mush in my opinion. I've never been able to make it to my satisfaction.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  That's too bad. Here's Hazan's which is the only one I've ever made:

                                  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                              2. re: mcf

                                I was thinking the same thing but was reluctant to mention it here. After all, many folks make ALL their own pasta and consider dry pasta a travesty of the real thing.

                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                  We're talking about home made paste, after all. But if folks like it and want to go to the trouble, who'm I to argue? To me, flour and water mixed and squeezed isn't a priority.

                                  I think dried pasta is pretty traditional, and it's really a matter of texture preference, very personal.

                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                    I don't think it's a "travesty" at all and most of my at home pasta eating is from dried. But after making Marcella Hazan's lasagna, I'll just never have it other than homemade. And, btw, it has eggs so maybe a teensy bit different than paste :)

                      2. And there are people who think individuals can't/don't/shouldn't make a difference. Obviously we can/do/should. Good for Barilla for listening and beginning to take some action.

                        1. C Hamster, now if the American company Chic Fil A would follow suit. But, no, that's completely admitted bigotry. They take pride in it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver

                            At least they're honest.

                            1. re: youareabunny

                              That they are. Reminds me of my late MIL when Obama was running for president the first time. When she said that she didn't like "that Obama person," I asked why not. Her answer "I'm a racist." :)

                          2. Some of these companies are unfortunately only doing it to save face in the public eye, yet continue to donate to anti-gay organizations - with Coors being a big example. They've been trying for decades to put a lot of pro-gay posters, shirts, ads, and other stuff promoting their brand in gay bars to give the impression that they've turned a leaf, yet they continue to give money to anti-gay groups.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: Atomic76

                              Whoopie. People of all persuasions drink beer.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                Coors is beer? Huh.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Tee hee :)

                              2. re: Atomic76

                                Oh yeah, Coors left my house forever ago.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  My Grandma used to call it scab beer [due to being anti-union].

                                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                    That too.

                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                      Your Grandma is awesome.

                                      1. re: JonParker

                                        Thanks! She was one of the first women hired by the USPS [in a civil service position] once the Civil Rights Act was passed in the early 1960's. The men tried to run her off by making her throw large bags of bulk mail all day [thinking she couldn't handle it and would quit]. After a week, they begged her to slow down. She was just happy to earn an equal wage.

                                  2. re: Atomic76

                                    Agreed Atomic. I'm glad they are making an effort and I applaud them for that but my past experiences make me believe it is a PR move. I'm glad the boycott has been effective. I've already switch brands and have no intention of returning.

                                    I can't line his pockets with my money so that he can continue funding causes behind the scenes that work against what I see as "the greater good".

                                    1. re: Atomic76

                                      No self respecting gay person I know would drink Coors.

                                      (JK - lest I get flamed)

                                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                        No self-respecting beer drinker would drink Coors, regardless of sexual orientation.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          Lord have mercy...we agree on something...!

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            I drank a Coors Light this weekend. But I did so shamefully, with a healthy dose of self-hate. ;-)

                                            (it was at a wedding, and they had run out of all the other beers)

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              My deepest condolences.

                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                The tour of the Coors brewery is fascinating - it is the largest brewery in the world. Also fascinating was when Peter Coors got a DUI in Jefferson County, where Coors is exempt from property taxes.

                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                  Was it a same sex wedding? Then it's ok.

                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                    At least you had a good excuse. Any light beer is fly piss.

                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                      Haha! We served Lionshead Light as the light beer at our wedding.

                                                      We don't drink light beer I anyone wants to take a few cases off our hands.

                                              2. "Barilla has also appointed its first Chief Diversity Officer and announced that it will participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which assesses companies’ protections and benefits for LGBT employees"

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: youareabunny

                                                  I'm not a fan of the HRC, but I support their cause.

                                                  1. re: youareabunny

                                                    Good! They're doing something concrete that the rest of the world can actually watch/see. Far better than just making noise and mouthing platitudes.

                                                  2. What about multiculturalism?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: beevod

                                                      Multiculturalism? Now that's crazy talk!

                                                      Made me think of this clip: http://youtu.be/ZD0BcQTIr4c

                                                      1. re: beevod

                                                        I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

                                                      2. Too little, too late........Please do not insult my intelligence....

                                                        27 Replies
                                                        1. re: Kat

                                                          Without knowing why you feel that way, I'm sorry you or anyone else does. If the only paintbrush humans are willing to paint is one that has no tolerance for mistakes or the ability to learn from them, the insult to intelligence is far greater than a box of pasta sold by a slow learner.

                                                          http://www.barillagroup.com/corporate...

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Bravo! Bravo!

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              All of us have the ability to learn and grow and change. Even corporations. I used to work for a company that was on the forefront of all sorts of social issues that are, in some cases, non-events these days. Well, maybe not THAT good, but still. It reads like Barilla is taking some giant steps in the right direction. If they don't follow through, we'll certainly know it.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                Exactly. Give the company a little breathing room to do the work is all I'm say'in.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Yup. In my life I strive to be quick to praise and slow to criticize.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    "If the only paintbrush humans are willing to paint is one that has no tolerance for mistakes or the ability to learn from them, the insult to intelligence is far greater than a box of pasta sold by a slow learner."

                                                                    No HillJ you said a hell of a lot more!

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      One thing that has impressed me so far is that Barilla has kept all of their press releases; good, bag, ugly on the company site. Nothing vaporized. So many companies take out their erasers, hire a PR firm and try to rewrite history (even short time frame history) and Barilla hasn't used an eraser. Stuff like that gets my attention.

                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                  It is the Chairman who made these statements. The Chairman still feels this way. The Chairman has not said he has changed his views.

                                                                  What we have seen since the Chairman's comments is a series of press releases designed to address the fact that the Chairman's comments has negatively affected sales.

                                                                  It's kind of like BP flooding the airwaves with commercials about how committed they are to the environment, right after the BP oil spill. This is completely, 100% driven by marketing and sales. Their specific PR goal is to make us think that something has changed. Whether or not anything actually changes is not relevant to this kind of PR push.

                                                                  1. re: calumin

                                                                    Then thank goodness for all of it because without what you describe driving change NOTHING WOULD.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      What I find interesting is the extent to which we are willing to accept company press releases as indications of the true reality inside a company.

                                                                      It's as if we think the public relations and marketing people, whose communications are purpose-built to present a positive view of the company, are actually just reflecting the internal reality of that company.

                                                                      Does anyone really think that a company can change its culture that quickly? The culture of a company starts from the top down. If they were serious about this, then they would just shut up and make the change. Then they would let their employees write the article a year from now.

                                                                      That would be better than including quotes from Barilla's executive director of communication and external relations - as if his view adds any credibility to the story.

                                                                      1. re: calumin

                                                                        Yes, PR is valuable. But, who said anything about quick. Above I suggested we take a breath and wait and see. What I find interesting is how quickly you suggest we dismiss the effort to change a company culture. The original OP stated by Ruth when the announcement first hit the news had folks "voting with their feet" "letting their pocketbooks speak for them" and businesses were interviewed while video taping owners throwing out boxes of Barilla and grocery shelves bare of their product line. NOW the company responds to the financial impact, creates a new strategy to move forward and you find fault with it within hours of that press release.

                                                                        So again, if you believe the company is a lost cause and has no value, that's your right of course. The big picture for me is to keep jobs, keep an international brand in the spotlight and follow what their future is as they learn from mistakes.

                                                                        The CEO may have been their undoing but he was not the only individual at Barilla impacted by what he said. The new team Barilla has put together is interesting. Do you believe this team is 100% farce with no real agenda of their own?

                                                                    2. re: calumin

                                                                      Here is a video of the Chairman who made the statements directly apologizing for what he said;

                                                                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=...

                                                                      If you watch and listen you will see and hear that he says;

                                                                      "I have never discriminated against anyone"

                                                                      Don't you think after all the press this has received if he had some "anti-gay" agenda someone would have come out of the wood work by now to challenge his claim? To confront him for being a liar and actually being a bigot? Has anyone?

                                                                      "I have heard the countless reactions around the world to my words.......which have depressed and saddened me"

                                                                      "It is clear I have a lot to learn about the lively debate .....about the evolution of the family"

                                                                      These statements and apologies were issued far in advance of any result of protests or sales slumps.

                                                                      I'm not sure how you can say he has not changed his views, unless you have some personal access to him. Even if he hasn't changed them yet, which I doubt he has, it doesn't mean he isn't open to learning more and perhaps broadening his perspective. I don't know anyone who just changes their views on things which involve a life long belief's over night.

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        jrvedivici -- I think you're disagreeing with yourself in your own post -- you say you don't think he's changed his views, then you also say you don't think one can say that.

                                                                        At any rate, I don't think Barilla is doing anything substantially wrong. Virtually all companies hire PR & use it specifically to mold public opinion in their favor -- truth is a mostly tangential issue in these efforts.

                                                                        When companies (or chairmen) have a gun to their head which is collapse of sales and erosion of brand, then you can't judge anything they say truthfully. Just because the PR person crafted the right 30-second soundbite that he delivered well -- does that really mean anything? The only real truth is the original statement, because he said it without duress.

                                                                        Wait a year and see what rank-and-file employees say about any change in the corporate culture.

                                                                        1. re: calumin

                                                                          "The Chairman still feels this way. The Chairman has not said he has changed his views."

                                                                          You are making a statement, a statement as fact.

                                                                          "Even if he hasn't changed them yet, which I doubt he has, it doesn't mean he isn't open to learning more and perhaps broadening his perspective."

                                                                          I am stating an opinion, not a fact. There is a difference.

                                                                          It is my opinion that the Chairman's views of gay relationships is probably deeply rooted based on his society and assumed religious beliefs. I would dare to say his statement(s) are probably more indicative of Italians views as a whole, rather than in the minority of peoples opinions there. Because of that I highly doubt in the matter of a couple of weeks you would be able to over come a lifetime of bias both learned and conditioned by your surroundings. I could be wrong, that is why I don't state it as a fact.

                                                                          There is no doubt the PR machine is in over drive at Barilla, but to say the Chairman hasn't commented is false and just goes to fuel much of the ignorance regarding this hot topic.

                                                                          We can wait a week, a month or a year......I don't think you are going to hear anything from the rank and file employees there. If there was a hostile environment there I believe people would have come forward already, strike while the iron is hot. I highly doubt over a year you will hear anything about any changes in culture. You also have to keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, there isn't a pro-gay culture in Italy, I'm pretty sure even if there were disgruntled gay employees they would probably fear "coming out" with their complaints for fear of retribution or any other number of reasons.

                                                                          We tend to view things like this through the eyes our liberty provides us. We often fail to realize just how non-progressive, non-accepting so much of the rest of the world is. Just take a look at Russia.

                                                                          For the record, I don't support Barilla or his statements, just the opposite, however I also don't like to rush to judgement.

                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                            I don't disagree with much of what you're saying. My main point is that people shouldn't use these press releases as any indication of change at Barilla.

                                                                            At the end of this all we are really evaluating is the quality of Barilla's PR team. Nothing else. And why should we applaud Barilla for exhibiting good PR for crisis control?

                                                                            1. re: calumin

                                                                              Why not? PR for crisis control is one aspect of the job. What would you prefer to see?

                                                                              1. re: calumin

                                                                                Overall we are on the same side of this "fight", I just tend to piss more people off with my attempt at level headed, non-rush to judgement approach. lol

                                                                                "And why should we applaud Barilla for exhibiting good PR for crisis control"

                                                                                Again, I think the PR machine went into over drive before any firm evidence that there was a "crisis". Specifically regarding any financial loss(es), so I would applaud them for being what I would consider more pro-active than waiting to see how big of a hit they are taking before starting the PR machine.

                                                                                The other reason I would say you should or could applaud them is because unlike Chik Filet, they are trying. I would hope that if a future company was to make similarly ignorant mistake or statements similar to Barilla, they would follow Barilla's post statement actions, rather than say "Eh....didn't hurt Chik Filet".

                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                  Just imagine that day at the PR office. For months they were sending out calm, non political, friendly intel about their international product line and then ERKKK!!! they have an international crisis on their hands...not stemming from some oddball or influence from a competitor but in house, the big guy, their CEO...lights, camera, microphone....the whole world watching and listening, reacting.

                                                                                  I can't imagine the PR group was sitting on their hands :)

                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                    I can't believe I'm getting sucked into this again but I am . . . :(
                                                                                    and if we really think we are going to come to a consensus on this after the last Barilla post I think we are fooling ourselves (me included in that).

                                                                                    That said, I believe that change happens because of the broad spectrum of reactions and to say that one type of response is "better" or "more appropriate" that another is just hogwash.

                                                                                    If us "hot heads" (my quotes) didn't "over-react" (other peoples views of my hot headedness) this PR effort would never have happened. If us "hot heads" didn't continue to be pissed, I believe that their first PR release would have been sufficient to placate others. Conversely, without the more "wishy-washy" responders (my intentionally passive-agressive quotes because I'm a hot-head) it is very hard to bring people together to try and have the type of response Barilla is saying they are going to have. So it takes both camps.

                                                                                    I'm also frustrated by the suggestion that this was a "mistake" by Barilla. The mistake was that they got caught. This wasn't a one off ad that was misconstrued. This was the CEO of a MAJOR, INTERNATIONAL company that in essences said (paraphrased because you can google the facts) gays have no place in our company or in our ads, and they never will, if you don't like it buy another brand. So I am and I will - likely forever, I've already switch and see no need to go back. If it means the company folds, I'm fine with that. Sorry, again I'm a hot head - I know it - I'm okay with it.

                                                                                    In addition, the passive aggressive statement of qualifying one's response as "level headed" is, in my opinion, a response better qualified as one of eyes-half-closed with a complete lack of responsibility - not level-headed.

                                                                                    And while Italy is not the USA, it is also far from some random third world country and Barilla is a major international company, not some mom-and-pop outfit. So I won't afford them the veiled ignorance that others seem to want to afford them on this one.

                                                                                    1. re: thimes

                                                                                      Hmmmmmm not really sure where to start on this one. First, I suppose should be an apology if you feel I have in some way I'm "sucking" you into something you don't want to be a part of.

                                                                                      "That said, I believe that change happens because of the broad spectrum of reactions and to say that one type of response is "better" or "more appropriate" that another is just hogwash."

                                                                                      I don't believe I have ever said that any response is superior to any other, I do believe I have always stated my personal response, while never espousing it to be better than anyone else's. As the matter of fact in the very comment(s) you are responding to I say;

                                                                                      "I just tend to piss more people off with my attempt at level headed, non-rush to judgement approach. lol"

                                                                                      "With my attempt" I even admit I'm not 100% sure if I'm being read accurately, because it does seem that I piss people like you off, even though we are on the same side of things.

                                                                                      "I'm also frustrated by the suggestion that this was a "mistake" by Barilla."

                                                                                      I've also never said this was a "mistake" by Barilla, I've said repeatedly I do believe these are his true beliefs. I just don't believe they were said with malice, ignorance yes, but not malice. That just my opinion, but again I've never said it was a mistake or defended him.

                                                                                      "And while Italy is not the USA, it is also far from some random third world country"

                                                                                      Regardless of how 1st, 2nd or 3rd world a country is that has nothing to do with their views, again as I've said in other threads take a look at Russia to see that.

                                                                                  2. re: calumin

                                                                                    They have responded to their public and are attempting to address the public's concern. That is a function of the quality of Barilla's PR team, but the PR team would not be going in that direction if management didn't want them to. It's way more than Chic-fil-a would allow to happen,

                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                      They may have a very high quality PR team, but I don't know why anyone cares.

                                                                                  3. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                    As an aside to your comment jrv, I want to point out that the team Barilla has put together (detailed in the press release) addresses the community hurt by and empowered by the original CEO remark. Barilla's focus is to improve very specific relations, this is not an appointment for a full facelift.

                                                                                    Source: Barilla
                                                                                    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.

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      So are you saying they are not going far enough in your opinion?

                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                        I'm still reading the trades but what I'm reading is the company is addressing the community that felt most targeted. first. In my opinion that's smart. As for what happens next, nothing has been shared about what happens after the team works through the steps outlined.

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          Similar to the joke I tell about when I have a bad day at work, at least it's never as bad as the Director of Tourism for Dallas Tx on November 23, 1963

                                                                                          "Other than that unfortunate incident Mrs. Kennedy, we hope you enjoyed your visit and would come back again..........."

                                                                                  4. re: calumin

                                                                                    <<<<When companies (or chairmen) have a gun to their head which is collapse of sales and erosion of brand, then you can't judge anything they say truthfully. Just because the PR person crafted the right 30-second soundbite that he delivered well -- does that really mean anything?
                                                                                    The only real truth is the original statement, because he said it without duress.>>>>>

                                                                                    Can we include politicians in this group??

                                                                          2. Paula Deen could learn a lot from this crisis control team.

                                                                            1. I like the idea of portraying diversity, inclusion, and equality through the “multifaceted nature of pasta.” Really, what product is better suited to being promoted like that?

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                Two female cats doing the Lady and the Tramp scene with Barilla angel hair pasta perhaps? Or two male bulldogs? Or a golden retriever and a black lab sharing a bowl of fettuchini perhaps?

                                                                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                  A male Samoyed, a male black lab and two dalmatian puppies

                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                  Now that would be a good idea!

                                                                                3. I never really cared how the chairman of Barilla felt, but I refuse to support a company that has such antiquated notions of sexuality and gender roles. Therefore, I don't care if the individual has had a sincere change of heart, but I am glad that the company is actively changing its image.

                                                                                  1. My take: it's unlikely the Chairman has changed his thinking, but he probably got a talking-to from his Board and company,. And the comparison to Chick-fil-a (or however that's spelled) seems off balance.

                                                                                    There are plenty of pastas that one can buy that are as good or better than Barilla, so they have a more fragile market position.

                                                                                    Chick-Fil-A has a more distinctive product that people (not myself) seem to find quite particularly attractive. I remember during the latest blow-up with them that there were plenty of man-on-the-street interviews where gays themselves said they're still going there, because they like the sandwiches enough and don't sweat what the owner thinks.

                                                                                    1. http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/11/0...

                                                                                      This says that, in addition to things already mentioned here, they ARE going to be featuring gays in advertising. That sounds like more than "just" PR to me. I'm thinking it's pretty darn good.

                                                                                      50 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Sounds like giving in :)

                                                                                        Sometimes, tolerance must be forced.

                                                                                        1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                          And sometimes people can actually have their eyes opened and actually change.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Sometimes. But I think that's easier for children than adults. And it's still too soon for any enlightenment IMO. especially when his beliefs are probably rooted in religion.

                                                                                            1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                              IMO, "enlightenment" can occur in a heartbeat. Putting it into action within a corporate environment can take longer but for an adult person of reasonable intelligence it can happen overnight. I'm 66 and have it happen regularly. Just read something here on CH and had an aha moment. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt rather than continue to be skeptical. What's the harm?

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                There is no harm either way. He did have a lot to say, and some were thought out and quite harsh.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  I don't know if you read some of the responses to my posts on this topic it seems like there is a lot of "harm" out there for trying to be forgiving or open minded.

                                                                                                  I do completely agree to with you regarding people can have an aha moment, I only hedge that bet in this example because I assume religion probably plays a big part in this. Again that is my assumption. People tend to have a harder time excepting something that is against their religious values. Although I am Catholic, I'm pretty corrupt, so I have no problem with going against my religion! lol

                                                                                                  I think as the first pro-gay commercial they should feature Barilla as one of the men in a gay family and the commercial should end with a big smooch between him and the fellow actor. Then and maybe then I will be convinced!

                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                    It'll be like Elton John singing with and playing piano for Eminem all over again! Just less sexy.... or more?

                                                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                      EXACTLY!!!! It's like we are evil geniuses Bunny!!!

                                                                                                      But in all honesty that is and was an excellent example of building bridges on this topic.

                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                        I would also accept if he hosted a fundraiser dinner for a gay charity. And actually being there, not just footing the bill or providing the skill. Holy moly, my rhymes just brought me the thrill.

                                                                                                        1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                          Now THAT to me is PR only.

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            I think with good speakers, warm fuzzy feelings and the like it wouldn't have to be.

                                                                                                          2. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                            Did you read the 'contest' Barilla will be running as part of the steps?

                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                              I heard they were going to have a sack race. Where two guy's stand side by side, tie their leg's together and have to run 50 yards while holding each others genitals. If you let go of you're partners sack you're disqualified. I did this in the boy scouts.

                                                                                                              Not sure if this is official yet.

                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                Call it the non-Breeders Cup?

                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                  They've rounded the clubhouse turn and are coming coming down the home stretch....it's neck and neck...it's a photo finish...and the Lucky Boys win by a head!

                                                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  To prove the company is very, very sorry for the comments made by Barilla, it has announced an online contest that will be launched in 2014.
                                                                                                                  The contest will be designed to “engage people on diversity, inclusion, and equality.” Entrants from around the world 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 on. The videos will be then judged by an expert panel and the winners will receive awards.

                                                                                                                  http://www.queerty.com/barilla-tries-...

                                                                                                                  Hmm. Sure?! I need to get some friends together so we can film the gayest commercial of the gayest family cooking the gayest pasta meal ever. I want prizes.

                                                                                                                  PR thinking caps must be set to full blast.

                                                                                                                  1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                    Maybe we should all take a step back and acknowledge that public relations is a good thing, not a bad thing:

                                                                                                                    http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicr...

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      It is. Too bad no one clued him in before.

                                                                                                                3. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                  Yo yo...I gotta say, it ain't easy being gay, but Barrilla's reversal makes me say, (drop a lil John) YEAH!

                                                                                                                  Maybe one day we will find a way.....to heal our problems in an amicable way

                                                                                                                  But till that time all I can say is let them show us the way!

                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                    You're ahead of me. I'm not aT YEAHH just yet. But I went from HUH, WHAT to OKAYYYYYY so it's progress.

                                                                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                      You think there is a market for a middle aged, pudgy, balding white male rapper?

                                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                        Why not? Never give up on your dreams. Especially the ones that you've had for just a few minutes.

                                                                                                                      2. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                        Agreed, I'm not ready to give them any of my money - but I'm no longer calling ahead to restaurants to find out what brand of pasta they are using - though the only local Italian place I will go to no longer uses them, so I don't have to call them.

                                                                                                              2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                I'll book the don't side of that bet....

                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                  I think he's got some definite sexual appeal in that swarthy, Italian way!

                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                    Maybe so, the larger conversation has brought out some very interesting discussions. That's beneficial.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      That has always been my point, anything is possible if there is a dialog. You can protest, not purchase, chant and do whatever you want, however if you won't engage in constructive dialog, nothing can or will ever change.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                        I've followed your point all along, jr. Two threads worth :)

                                                                                                                        The Barilla story only reminds me that I have a difficult time aligning with the notion that a) people want change and then b) fault the effort to. Ignorance remains non pulsed if society doesn't keep an open mind that change is possible.

                                                                                                                        ITMT, I'm making mac and cheese right now with homemade pasta noodles from the local pasta shop.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Yummy save me some! That's one thing that irks me, my home-made noodles/pasta sucks. I would be making mush and cheese right now.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                            Do you enjoy mac n cheese with or without breadcrumbs? I add a kick of spice mix at the end too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                              I'm a big (literally and figuratively) mac n cheese fan. I enjoy the breadcrumbs version, I enjoy non-bread crumb version and I like it baked with bacon on top. (every try that)

                                                                                                                              Personally my favorite mix of cheese's for mac n cheese is to use a port wine cheese spread, most commonly sold by Wise Pride. Regardless any port wine cheese spread as a 50% mix to whatever other cheese(s) you enjoy. Usually a milder to take a little of the edge of the port wine off. I served this variety at several of my restaurants over the years and it's generally a hit, because of the unique flavor and the fact it's color is generally a nice pink. When I've served this it would have the breadcrumb, ritz cracker combination top.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                I didn't care for bacon only because the greasy factor was too much for me (and I like bacon). I've never tried a port wine spread though. I'm big on m n c with crumb.

                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                  When I bake it I put bacon on top and I melt the cheese with a can of cream of tomato soup instead of milk or cream. I don't use the port wine for this baked mac n cheese. This was actually my grandmothers preferred method.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                    Oh my..cream of t soup sounds so interesting. I've never made it that way either.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, that's why I clarified a bit. The bacon while greasy, especially on top of a cheese, is negated a bit by the saucy consistency of the cream of tomato soup/cheese mixture.

                                                                                                                                      The bacon is fantabulous to chop up when your finished baking and either mix it into the mac n cheese or just sprinkle a little as a topping ala' bacon bits.

                                                                                                                                      Give it a try sometime, you should enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                      You mentioned spicy earlier, ever make horseradish mac n cheese?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                        Good ideas. Horseradish I adore in mac n cheese. This time I roasted a few peppers and then tossed them in at the end. I'll use half the batch to top burgers this weekend.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          Awesome! I don't know about you but how many times have I been looked at cross eyed when I tell someone I'm making/serving horse radish mac n cheese. Then they take a bit and they are addicted! (in most cases) I only use hot horse radish, it has to hit your nostrils.

                                                                                                                                          I've tried the same with wasabi but with lack luster results. I can't figure out why, to me they are very similar heats, but for whatever reason the wasabi cheese combination hasn't worked as well. The same can't be said for wasabi mashed potato's......they are the BOMB!!!

                                                                                                                    2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                      Unless he is playing the straight father in law in a family gathering, pretending to be gay to shill his product is just as offensive and plain stupid.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                        I apologize if my attempt at humor missed it's mark.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                          I got it, Jr.

                                                                                                                  2. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                    But his new pope says not to judge gay folks. That may be an underpinning here.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      Interesting observation.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        The timing is good. This pope is certainly encouraging dialogue about a number of issues that have never had any consideration before by the Catholic church.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                          He also said he stands behind the church's teaching.

                                                                                                                          1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                            Yes, but not homophobia nor religious zealotry. People are free to believe whatever, but he's against judging or bludgeoning others with one's personal religiosity.

                                                                                                                            I mean, he's the pope, whose teachings do you expect him to stand behind?

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              Haven't they always preached against judging?

                                                                                                                              1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                                Hmm, that's not my recollection. By a long shot.

                                                                                                                                1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                                  Not in such a sharply disapproving and unambiguous way, no, which is why it made news: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07...

                                                                                                                                  And he really blasted ideologically obsessed fundamentalists whose behavior he likened to mental illness: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/10/...

                                                                                                                                  I think it's a nice one two punch at bigotry.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    I think in bits in pieces that most media choose to report he comes across as more tolerant but in reading entire interviews he seems more of the same.

                                                                                                                                    He went on about gay priests, for example. That he cannot judge a gay priest if he lives a chaste, godly life. Granted that's a statement on priests, but to me it's a statement on sin vs sinner (you can be born with these sinful desires, just don't act on them.)

                                                                                                                                    I've read numerous catholic publications that are angered at the pope's words being taken out of context, misconstrued. Of course, these may be the fundamentalists that he denounces.

                                                                                                                                    Not to say he isn't kind, and I do hope the focus is on the poor, sick etc. Although they have always done that work.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                                      All priests are expected to be chaste and not act on their sexual desires.

                                                                                                                                      He's a Catholic, and has devoted his life to the tenets of the faith, so what you're saying is that Catholicism is bigotry. In fact, he's making strong statements to Catholics to turn their attention from an effort to make others live by their beliefs to helping the poor and practicing tolerance and acceptance of differences.

                                                                                                                                      Of *course* he's doing it within the context of the faith he's devoted his life to. But he's clearly a reformer.