Donald Trump

President Donald Trump listens as Robert Unanue, of Goya Foods, speaks during a roundtable meeting with Hispanic leaders in the Cabinet Room, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Praise for Trump Unleashes Wrath Against Goya

     Goya has been canceled. The largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States is still in business, but in the eyes of progressive celebrities, activists and those who broadcast their moral allegiance with hashtags, Goya is kaput.

     The die was cast when the company’s president, Robert Unanue, joined other business and community leaders in the Rose Garden for the administration’s launch of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative last week. In a speech, Unanue praised President Trump, saying, “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump.”

     And the match was lit. Goya Foods “has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations. Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain,” tweeted former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.

    N.Y. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own Adobo.’” “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda chimed in: “We learned to bake bread in this pandemic, we can learn to make our own adobo con pimienta. Bye.”

     The hashtags #BoycottGoya, #GoyaFoods and #Goyaway quickly trended.

      Goya has donated millions of pounds of food to victims of disasters and charities around the world including hurricanes Sandy, Isaac and Irene, and the earthquake in Haiti.

   All of that’s meaningless, apparently.

     The company also awards four $20,000 annual scholarships to children of Goya employees, brokers and independent drivers, as well as a scholarship program for incoming college freshmen majoring in culinary arts or food sciences.

     That also pales in comparison to praising Trump.

      Some boycotts have led to major changes that benefited marginalized groups. In the late 1960s, Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez called for Americans to boycott grapes over the poor pay and bad working conditions endured by farm workers. That nationwide boycott, combined with marches and hunger strikes, led to a new, improved contract in 1970, and the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975.

     These days, all it takes is a speech to trigger the call that one’s company is to be avoided like the plague.

     But Unanue, while the head of the company, is not the entire company. It employs about 4,000 around the world, from drivers and brokers to workers in various levels of the supply chain and in warehouses. The boycott is intended to target Goya’s revenue through loss of sales. But if there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, is that when revenues drop, it’s the workers who bear the brunt.

    We wonder if any of those hashtag wielders and Goya detractors considered what would happen to employees should revenues and production drop to the point where layoffs would be imposed?

     Chrissy Teigen has. She tweeted, “Support the workers by empowering them to be stronger than this absolute (expletive). I will personally do what I can to financially ensure these farms can carry on without them.” This should come as great comfort to those worried about how to make rent, pay for health care, education for their children and putting food on their own tables should the boycott impact their jobs.

      Unanue, by the way, is not backing down from his comments.

     Which begs the question: At what point do knee-jerk boycotts, increasingly prevalent over contrarian views and speech, become meaningless?

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