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Lesbian-Themed Barilla Pasta Box Art Counters Its Homophobic Past

Lesbian-Themed Barilla Pasta Box Art Counters Its Homophobic Past

Box art by Olimpia Zagnoli
Box art by Olimpia Zagnoli

The Barilla pasta company has a history of anti-LGBTQ problems but the new Lady and the Tramp-esque box art signals its move toward inclusivity. 


Several hundred winners of the Barilla-sponsored World Pasta Championship were given boxes of spaghetti no. 5 with limited edition box art featuring two women sharing a strand of pasta a la Lady and the Tramp, according to It's Nice That.

The company paired up with illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli to create the box art. Zagnoli was skeptical at first given the past homophobic statements of the brand's chairman Guido Barilla. Barilla once claimed that he would never feature a same-sex couple in his advertisement and that "gays" could "go eat another brand [of pasta]."

Following the chairman's homophobic statement, the company created an initiative to encourage diversity and inclusion within the company. At that point, Zagnoli boycotted the brand.

"Despite his apologies, the day after, the news spread and people began to boycott Barilla products. I was one of them, and have been for quite a long time," Zagnoli told It's Nice That.

Even so, Zagnoli reached out to the company willing to collaborate. She was surprised when they said agreed, she said.

"It turns out while I was protesting in my kitchen Barilla made significant progress, radically redefining its code of ethics and adjusting its internal policies," she stated.

Zagnoli has this to say on the importance of inclusivity in advertisement and art "I just think that advertising and communication can change how we feel about ourselves and others and if it's done right, it can shape the visual language of a generation."

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