‘Slap in the face’: Goya faces boy­cott over praise of Trump

Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS - BY ALEXAN­DRA OL­SON, KATE BRUMBACK AND MATT OTT

NEW YORK — The CEO of food com­pany Goya is fac­ing an up­roar over his praise for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, with some Latino fam­i­lies purg­ing their pantries of the prod­ucts and scram­bling to find al­ter­na­tives to the beloved beans, sea­son­ing and other prod­ucts that have long been fix­tures in their cook­ing.

Stand­ing be­side Trump in the Rose Gar­den on Thurs­day, Goya CEO Robert Unanue de­clared: “We are truly blessed, at the same time, to have a leader like Pres­i­dent Trump who is a builder.”

Al­most im­me­di­ately, #Boy­cottGoya, #Goy­aFoods and #Goy­away be­gan trend­ing on so­cial me­dia plat­forms. For­mer Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ju­lian Cas­tro, Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez and “Hamil­ton” writer Lin-Manuel Mi­randa joined the boy­cott calls. The United Farm Work­ers posted a video on Twit­ter con­trast­ing Trump’s words de­rid­ing some Lati­nos as crim­i­nals and rapists against im­ages of them work­ing hard in the fields.

Lor­gia Ortega, a re­tired pay­roll man­ager in Los An­ge­les who reg­u­larly puts about 10 Goya prod­ucts in her shop­ping cart, said she called her four sis­ters when she saw Unanue’s com­ments on Twit­ter.

“Does he re­al­ize who the peo­ple are that are buy­ing his prod­ucts?” said Ortega, who im­mi­grated from El Sal­vador in 1974. “This pres­i­dent has in­sulted us so much.”

Unanue stood by his words dur­ing a Fri­day ap­pear­ance on “Fox & Friends”: I’m not apol­o­giz­ing for say­ing — and es­pe­cially when you’re called by the pres­i­dent of the United States — you’re gonna say, ‘No, I’m sorry I’m busy, no thank you’? I didn’t say that to the Oba­mas, and I didn’t say that to Pres­i­dent Trump.”

The com­pany calls it­self the largest His­panic-owned food com­pany in the United States, list­ing 2,500 prod­ucts, in­clud­ing sea­son­ings, cook­ing oils, beans, frozen prod­ucts and snacks. Its of­fer­ings are ubiq­ui­tous in gro­cery stores across the U.S., some­times tak­ing up their own en­tire aisle.

Adri­ana Water­ston, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Horowitz Re­search, which spe­cial­izes in His­panic con­sumers, said Goya rou­tinely emerges among the most trusted brands in the stud­ies she con­ducts for clients. She said that speaks to the po­ten­tial for a deep sense of be­trayal among Goya cus­tomers, though the brand’s pop­u­lar­ity will also make any boy­cott ef­fort dif­fi­cult.

“This Goya thing is go­ing to go down as one of the big­gest mar­ket­ing faux pas of the year,” Water­ston said. “This kind of stance is a slap in the face to the com­mu­nity.”

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