/Goya foods CEO admits he faces boycott after saying we are blessed to have Donald Trump

Goya foods CEO admits he faces boycott after saying we are blessed to have Donald Trump


The CEO of Goya Foods admitted Friday he is facing a backlash after praising President Donald Trump at White House event – but said: ‘I’m not apologizing.’

Among those calling for a boycott were Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and model Chrissy Teigen, an outspoken Trump critic who is also a cookbook author, who tweeted: ‘Don’t care how good the beans taste though. Bye bye.’ 

Others included Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Hamilton playwright, and former presidential candidate Julian Castro who said Unanue praised someone who villainizes Goya’s customer base.  

Goya was founded in Manhattan in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina, immigrants from Spain. The company calls itself the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States and remains in family control, with an estimated value of $3 billion and is now based in New Jersey.

Robert Unanue, Goya CEO and a grandson of the founders, spoke at a Rose Garden event announcing a ‘Hispanic Prosperity Initiative’ on Thursday.

‘We are all truly blessed, at the same time, to have have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,’ Unanue said standing at a podium beside Trump.

Almost immediately, #BoycottGoya, #GoyaFoods and #Goyaway began trending on social media platforms like Twitter, with scorn coming seemingly from all directions, including some big political names.

Many were angered by the support, citing Trump’s history of derogatory comments and harsh policies toward Hispanics, most notably, the administration’s policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Praise for the president: Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, the biggest family-owned Hispanic company in the U.S., went to the White House and said the country was 'blessed' to have Donald Trump

Praise for the president: Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, the biggest family-owned Hispanic company in the U.S., went to the White House and said the country was 'blessed' to have Donald Trump

 Praise for the president: Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, the biggest family-owned Hispanic company in the U.S., went to the White House and said the country was ‘blessed’ to have Donald Trump

Twitter outrage: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro were among those attacking Goya

Twitter outrage: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro were among those attacking Goya

Twitter outrage: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro were among those attacking Goya

Fightback: Goya tried to highlight its good works as its CEO faced a boycott over praising Trump

Fightback: Goya tried to highlight its good works as its CEO faced a boycott over praising Trump

Fightback: Goya tried to highlight its good works as its CEO faced a boycott over praising Trump

Ocasio-Cortez of New York said she would learn to make from scratch some of the Latin cuisine that Goya makes.

But Unanue went on Fox & Friends Friday morning defiant about what he said.

Asked by host Brian Kilmeade if he was facing a boycott he said: ‘Yes. It’s suppression of speech.’

He said that he had accepted an invitation to the White House to meet Barack and Michelle Obama and said: So, you’re allowed to talk good or to praise one president, but you’re not allowed to aid in economic and educational prosperity? 

‘And you make a positive comment and all of a sudden, it is not acceptable.’

Unanue, a registered Republican, has never publicly been a Trump supporter. 

He donated $6,000 to the Republican Party last year in the form of support for the Republican National Committee and its Winred generic fundraising arm.

Previously he has been a small-scale donor to Chris Christie and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, but also to New Jersey Democratic senator Robert Menendez.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway in an interview on ‘Fox & Friends’ called Goya a food company that is ‘really the American dream.’

‘It’s just a shame that people make everything so politicized, including food,’ Conway said. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 13.3% of eligible voters in the U.S. this year are Latino, a record high. 

Trump has been working hard recently to court Latino voters, who could swing the vote in states such as Arizona. 

On Wednesday, he welcomed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House with lofty language, calling Mexico a cherished partner. Trump´s tone was in stark contrast from when he kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign by referring to Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and railed against migrants entering the United States illegally. 

Trump supporters on Twitter jumped on the boycott to call on people to buy Goya in support of the CEO.

Pro-Trump backlash to the backlash: Among those attacking the Goya boycott were the president's son, who attacked cancel culture at the same time as his father was threatening to cancel funding for 'left-wing' colleges, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and millionaire Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp

Pro-Trump backlash to the backlash: Among those attacking the Goya boycott were the president's son, who attacked cancel culture at the same time as his father was threatening to cancel funding for 'left-wing' colleges, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and millionaire Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp

Pro-Trump backlash to the backlash: Among those attacking the Goya boycott were the president’s son, who attacked cancel culture at the same time as his father was threatening to cancel funding for ‘left-wing’ colleges, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and millionaire Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp

And Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: ‘So the leftist mob wants to cancel one of the largest Hispanic owned companies in America because they recognize that the president has shown great leader ship? (Not very woke)’

Ironically his father tweeted a demand to cancel tax breaks and funding for schools and colleges at almost exactly the same time, accusing them of ‘left-wing indoctrination.’ 

Yet the potential danger for companies became clear almost from the first day of the Trump administration. A public statement, political donations, or support, can bring a torrent of unwanted publicity.

In 2017, the CEO Under Armour walked back comments in which he said Trump was ‘an asset to the country.’

In a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun, where Under Armour is based, CEO Kevin Plank wrote that his choice of words ‘did not accurately reflect my intent.’ He said Under Armour stands for equal rights and job creation and believes ‘immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America,’ Plank wrote.

The company also said it opposes the Trump administration’s travel policies.

Last year, the luxury gym Equinox and indoor cycling studio SoulCycle faced a backlash over a Trump fundraiser.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, at the time one of only four African-Americans leading a Fortune 500 company, was the first to resign from Trump´s business councils over the president´s remarks on the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Immigrant success story: Goya, whose corporate headquarters is in Jersey City, New Jersey, was founded in 1936 by an immigrant from Spain and now has an estimated value of $3 billion

Immigrant success story: Goya, whose corporate headquarters is in Jersey City, New Jersey, was founded in 1936 by an immigrant from Spain and now has an estimated value of $3 billion

Immigrant success story: Goya, whose corporate headquarters is in Jersey City, New Jersey, was founded in 1936 by an immigrant from Spain and now has an estimated value of $3 billion

Some business leaders quickly followed Frazier’s lead, including the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel. 

Others, including the heads Walmart and Johnson & Johnson, publicly condemned Trump’s remarks but initially resisted pressure to leave the councils. Within days, however, the ballooning uproar pushed the companies to shift course, and the panels fell apart.

Demographic changes and the massive Black Lives Matter movement are making race a pivotal issue in the upcoming election.

According to the Pew Research Center, 13.3% of eligible voters in the U.S. this year are Latino, a record high.

Trump has been working hard recently to court Latino voters, who could swing the vote in states such as Arizona and Florida. On Wednesday, he welcomed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House with lofty language, calling Mexico a cherished partner.

Trump’s tone was in stark contrast from when he kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign by referring to Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and railed against migrants entering the United States illegally.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has been an often target of Trump, criticized those behind the wheels of the boycott.

‘Goya is a staple of Cuban food. My grandparents ate Goya black beans twice a day for nearly 90 years. And now the Left is trying to cancel Hispanic culture and silence free speech. #BuyGoya’ Cruz wrote on Twitter.

Many of those that came to Goya’s defense Friday pointed out Goya’s history of community service.

In March and April this year, Goya donated over 300,000 pounds of food, or about 270,000 meals, to food banks and other organizations as part of its pandemic relief effort. 

The company said it also donated more 20,000 protective masks. Last month, Goya showed up with thousands of pounds of food to families in the Bronx and Harlem who have been affected by COVID-19 and gave food to a public school in Queens.

Goya lists 2,500 products, from seasonings and cooking oils, to beans and other Latin American staples as well as frozen products and snacks. Their offerings are ubiquitous in grocery stores across the U.S., sometimes taking up their own entire aisle.

Goya’s American dream: How the Unanue Family’s billionaire dynasty started with Spanish immigrants

The Goya brand was founded in 1936 in Manhattan by Prudencio Unanue Ortiz, an immigrant from northern Spain who left at age 17 in 1903 for Puerto Rico in search of employment. He met his wife Carolina Casal, also a Spanish immigrant, and headed to the U.S. in 1918.

Three generations later and the company remains in family control with an estimated value of $3billion and is largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. 

Don Prudencio Unanue Ortiz started by selling Spanish condiments in a small storefront on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan until the Spanish Civil War cut off his supplies. He began importing sardines from a Moroccan company instead.

The Moroccan company was called ‘Goya’, and Prudencio purchased the rights to the name for $1 because he thought his last name would be too difficult for American customers to pronounce and for its liking to Spanish painter Francisco Goya. 

Don Prudencio Unanue Ortiz and wife Carolina Casal

Don Prudencio Unanue Ortiz and wife Carolina Casal

 Don Prudencio Unanue Ortiz and wife Carolina Casal 

He imported traditional Spanish goods like olives, selling them to the fast-growing Spanish community in New York. 

‘Driven by the belief that there was a growing consumer market for high-quality, fresh-tasting, Latin foods, the Unanues catered to local Hispanic families by distributing authentic Spanish products including olives, olive oil, and sardines,’ the Goya site reads.  

Prudencio and Carolina had four sons, Charles, Joseph, Anthony and Frank, who were enrolled in Catholic school. 

After returning from WWII and graduating Catholic University of America, Joseph joined his brothers Anthony and Frank in running the family business and took over as president of Goya in 1974. Prudencio died in 1976. 

The company relocated from Manhattan to Brooklyn in 1958 and to New Jersey in 1974, where it currently holds its headquarters.     

In 2004, after 27 years as president, Joseph’s nephews Robert and Francisco Unanue drove him and his son Andy, then-COO, out, with the support of their shareholders, citing ‘differences of opinions’.  

Jospeh Unanue

Jospeh Unanue

Andy Unanue

Andy Unanue

Robert became CEO in 2004 after ousting his uncle Joseph Unanue (left), president of Goya since 1974, and cousin Andy (right) – then COO. 

Goya CEO Robert Unanue

Goya CEO Robert Unanue

Goya CEO Robert Unanue 

Robert and Francisco claimed it was due to Joseph making decisions without their input. 

‘There were differences of opinion as to the direction of the company,’ Robert told ABC in 2008. ‘Now, we’re all on the same page.’    

Joseph’s son Andy was briefly a candidate for the Republican nomination for a US Senate Seat for New Jersey in 2008, but dropped out. He is now managing partner of AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC. 

Joseph, a decorated war hero and knight of the Order of Malta, died of pulmonary fibrosis complications in 2013.

Many of the Unanue’s are still New Jersey-based, mostly living in affluent suburbs of Bergen County with many working in the family business. 

Goya now has 26 facilities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Spain, and employs over 4,000 worldwide. 

Last year the company met with Goldman Sachs and were estimated that they could sell for $3 billion but have yet to do so.

 

Latinos across the US boycott of Goya Foods after its CEO gushed about Trump – and are throwing the products they use every day in the trash

Latinos across the United States are urging a boycott of Goya Foods after Robert Unanue, CEO of the New Jersey-based praised United States President Donald Trump during a meeting Thursday at the White House.

People have flocked to Twitter to announce that they will no longer the products they use frequently when cooking and have even thrown their condiments in the trash.  

‘We are all truly blessed, at the same time, to have have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,’ Unanue said during a Rose Garden event to promote the ‘Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.’

Advocacy groups, politicians, celebrities and residents were quick to denounce Unanue’s support of Trump, who in the past has made derogatory comments towards and pushed forward policies against the Latino community, especially migrants who have been separated from their families for unlawfully crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Goya Foods was founded by Unanue’s grandfather, Prudencio Unanue in Lower Manhattan in 1936 after he arrived from Puerto Rico, where he lived several years after emigrating there from Spain and meeting his future wife, Carolina Casal, a citizen of Spain.

Prudencio Unanue opened up a small shop and imported olives and olive oil from his native Spain. The product line increased, forcing him to move his location to Brooklyn in 1958 before relocating operation to Jersey City, New Jersey. 

Today, Goya Foods makes and produces products from Spanish, Puerto Rican, Mexican and Central and South American cuisines. 

‘#Goya CEO Unanue is doubling down on his comments about trump this morning,’ Twitter user @kingrush wrote after the Goya executive claimed he would not apologize for his comments.

‘He doesn’t understand why we are upset that he supports a racist bigot constantly attacking our community & calls us invaders/drug dealers/rapist from [bad] countries. Gee, I wonder what it could be…’

Another user on the social media platform, @sabvibe, expressed her support for the boycott and at the same time bashed conservative supporters of Trump to were outrage with Nike backing former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

‘My end goal is to not spend money on businesses that don’t align with my values. He’s not going to get fired, he’s the owner of the family business. I don’t understand the hypocrisy, conservatives can boycott Nike for supporting Kaepernick but I can’t stop supporting Goya?’ 

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has been an often target of Trump, attacked Democratic congress members and supporters for being behind the wheels of the boycott.

‘Goya is a staple of Cuban food. My grandparents ate Goya black beans twice a day for nearly 90 years. And now the Left is trying to cancel Hispanic culture and silence free speech. #BuyGoya’ Cruz wrote on Twitter.

Another Twitter user slammed Robert Unanue for the company’s overall business practices.

‘Goya is not the same company Don Prudencio Unanue founded. He would have fired every single one of those ***** in charge for how they’ve treated their sales staff.’

 

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