Goya Foods faced a quick reaction backed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Latino leaders after CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump on Thursday, but a defiant Unanue defended his free expression rights and refused to apologize.
“We are all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said at an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, where the president signed an executive order on “White. House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. ”
Twitter exploded moments later, and users reminded Unanue of Trump’s story of controversial comments, such as calling some illegal Mexican immigrants “rapists” in 2015, and harsh policies toward illegal immigration from Mexico.
“When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are sending people who have a lot of problems, and they are bringing those problems with us. They bring drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists. And I suppose some are good people, “Trump said at Trump Tower when he announced his candidacy for the presidency in June.
“Oh look, it’s like I googled ‘how to make your own Adobo,'” AOC, of Puerto Rican descent, tweeted, referring to one of Goya’s popular condiments.
Get yourself friends like these: This tweet was not ready for TWO MINUTES when my friend told me the recipe. (His note: ‘ginger is controversial, but it’s worth it’), ”he added, retweeting a friend’s marinade recipe.
“@GoyaFoods has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations. Now its CEO, Bob Unanue, praises a president who villains and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain. Americans should think twice about buying their products. #Goyaway, “tweeted Julian Castro, HUD secretary in the Obama administration and a former Democratic presidential candidate, who is of Mexican descent.
But not all Latino public figures were on board.
“The creepy cancellation culture will find #BoycottGoya difficult and not compatible with most Latinos, certainly not many over the age of 21. The company is intertwined in Hispanic life. In urging Latino unity, my father used to say that the only real difference between us Hispanics was the color of our beans (Goya), ”television personality Geraldo Rivera, whose father was Puerto Rican, tweeted.
Unanue also announced Thursday that the family-owned food giant was donating one million cans of chickpeas and another million pounds of food to help alleviate the shortage caused by the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
A day later, he told Fox News that he had no intention of apologizing.
“We were part of a commission called the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative and they asked us to be there to see how we could help educational and economic opportunities for prosperity among Hispanics and among the United States,” said Unanue .
Unanue called the boycott, which was trending on Twitter, “suppressing the speech,” noting that the Obama administration had previously invited him to the White House during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“So, can you speak well or praise a president, but you cannot help in economic and educational prosperity? And you make a positive comment and suddenly it’s not acceptable, “asked Unanue.
Goya was founded in Manhattan in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife, Carolina, immigrants from Spain, and calls itself the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States.