Barilla gave attendees of a contest in Italy boxes of spaghetti with a drawing of lesbians on the box. At the World Pasta Championship – an event sponsored by Barilla – in Milan last month, hundreds of limited edition boxes of spaghetti no. 5 were given out.
The boxes feature a design by illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli of two women sharing a spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp-style. “We’ve been following Olimpia with admiration for several years now because we love her style. It’s simple and joyful, like spaghetti with tomato sauce,” said Kristen Anderson, Chief Diversity Officer at Barilla, in a press release.
For Zagnoli, the package is about more than spaghetti.
In 2013, Barilla chairman Guido Barilla said in a radio interview: “I would never do an ad with a homosexual family… if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.” He also said that the pasta is meant to defend “the concept of the traditional family.” He later apologized for his comments. People all over the world boycotted the brand, including Zagnoli.