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