Italian pasta maker Barilla is taking steps to limit damage to its brand, after its chairman's remarks in September triggered an international furor and boycott efforts by gay rights organizations and
In a radio interview, 55-year-old chairman Guido Barilla stated that the company would never make an ad spot featuring "a homosexual family...Not out of lack of respect, but
because I do not see it like they do. [My idea of] family is a classic family, where the woman has a fundamental role."
According to Reuters
, the executive has since held at least eight meetings with gay organizations and
activists in Italy and the U.S., which is its second-largest pasta market.
Barilla also announced that it plans to create an advisory board that includes American gay activist David Mixner
to improve "diversity and equality in the company's workforce and culture" and participate in the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign's corporate equality index.
In addition, a Barilla
spokesperson told Reuters that the company is already working on a new advertising concept that will be "much more open and much more inclusive," although he did not provide specifics.