Goya Foods is facing backlash from politicians, celebrities, and members of the Hispanic and Latinx communities after the company’s CEO Bob Unanue praised President Donald Trump in a White House appearance Thursday.
Unanue’s appearance was part of Trump’s executive order called the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. Unanue announced that, as part of the initiative, Goya would donate one million cans of chickpeas and another million pounds of food to food banks throughout the country.
“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue said. “And so we have an incredible builder. And we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country, that we will continue to prosper and to grow.”
The statement drew swift criticism on social media. Goya is a brand integral to many Hispanic and Latinx kitchens, and many found Unanue’s statements as pandering to a president who has vilified the immigrant community.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro took to Twitter to condemn the statement, using the hashtag #Goyaway.
Other celebrities jumped in to join the Goya boycott. Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen posted a thread on Twitter that she would no longer buy Goya products and would instead find other ways to support the farmers who supply goods for the company. "I will personally do what I can to financially ensure these farms can carry on without them," she wrote.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and writer of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” added his voice to the boycott.
Unanue appeared on Fox and Friends on Friday and responded to the calls for boycott. He said that, in 2012, Goya Foods had been part of nutrition initiatives spearheaded by then-First Lady Michelle Obama and he received no criticism. But now, because the company is teaming up with this president he is facing controversy, which he finds hypocritical.
“You’re allowed to talk good or praise one president, but when I was called to be part of this commission to aid in economic and educational prosperity, and you make a positive comment, all of a sudden that’s not acceptable,” he said. “I’m not apologizing.”