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Barilla promises to foster diversity

ROME — The pasta maker Barilla is pledging to foster diversity after protests were sparked by an executive’s claim the Italian company would never feature ads depicting gay families.

Barilla said it has established a new board to develop diversity goals and strategies. It said in a statement Monday that former F-1 driver Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a car crash, and David Mixner, an American gay rights activist, will serve on the board.

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In September, gays and others called for a boycott of Barilla products, which include cookies and bread.

Many of the company’s ads depict heterosexual couples with children gathered for meals. The protests were particularly strong in the United States, where sales account for 10 percent of Barilla’s revenue. Barilla says new ad campaigns are planned.

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