Politics

Goya Foods again under fire after CEO spouts more false election claims

Goya Foods is facing renewed calls to boycott the company’s products after CEO Robert Unanue falsely claimed Donald Trump to be “the real, the legitimate, and the still actual president of the United States.”

Unanue made his remarks on Sunday in addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. He told the partisan crowd that “we still have faith that the majority of people in the United States voted for the president,” a reference to Mr. Trump, who lost the November election to President Joe Biden in the Electoral College as well as by more than 7 million votes.

The executive made his unfounded assertion after Goya’s board in January reportedly voted to censure him, telling him he could no longer talk to the press without its approval, according to a New York Post reportCNN also cited sources it said were familiar with the private company’s action, which came after Unanue told Fox Business that President Biden’s election was “unverified.”  

Unanue later told the Post that he’d independently come to a decision to no longer publicly speak about politics. 

Goya did not respond to a request for comment on Unanue’s latest comments, which had some critics of his support for Trump once again vowing not to purchase the company’s products on social media.

Unanue’s words also prompted condemnation by the nonprofit Hispanic Federation, which called on “the corporate governance structures at Goya Foods [to] act” against its CEO. In a Monday statement signed by more than a dozen Latino advocacy groups, the federation called Unanue’s assertions “an affront to the millions of Latino voters in this nation who, despite significant voter suppression efforts, mustered the courage and  conviction to cast their ballots.”

Goya bills itself as the country’s largest Hispanic-owned food company. It first faced a backlash last summer when Unanue praised Mr. Trump in a speech at the White House Rose Garden. Not long after, #BoycottGoya, #GoyaFoods and #Goyaway began trending on social media, a scenario now on replay.

Those calling for a boycott of Goya products during the summer posted a litany of derogatory comments made by Mr. Trump as well as his policies, including his administration’s separations of detained immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We learned to bake bread in this pandemic, we can learn to make our own adobo con pimienta. Bye.” tweeted actor Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Former U.S. housing secretary and Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro bashed Unanue on Twitter for extolling a former president who he said has vilified Goya’s Hispanic customer base, while Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said she’ll learn to make some of the Latin American staples Goya sells.


Backlash over Goya CEO’s Trump support

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Unanue’s grandparents started Goya Foods in 1936 after emigrating to the U.S. from Spain. The family-owned firm manufactures about 2,500 products, from seasonings and cooking oils to beans and other Latin American staples as well as frozen products and snacks. Goya offerings are ubiquitous in grocery stores across the U.S., sometimes taking up their own entire aisle.

Unanue claimed during a radio interview in December that calls by Ocasio-Cortez and others to boycott his food products actually attracted new customers to buy Goya as well as maintained old ones, especially among conservative-leaning Hispanics. 

“You’re not going to change a consumer because one idiot like myself says something politically or whatever,” he said at the time. 




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