A number of public figures spoke out against Goya CEO Robert Unanue and his company Thursday including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro as well as celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and chef José A…

But what were intended to be celebratory comments marking Trumps signing of an executive order that pledges to improve Hispanic Americans access to educational and economic opportunities instead fueled a firestorm of backlash targeting Unanue and Goya that culminated in widespread calls to boycott the popular brand.
As clips of Unanues remarks circulated on social media Thursday, Latinos and longtime supporters of Goyas food slammed the CEOs commendation of Trump, citing the presidents incendiary rhetoric and controversial policies aimed at minority communities and immigrants. By early Friday, Goya was still a top trending term on Twitter along with the hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya as a number of public figures, including Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and former presidential candidate Julián Castro, criticized Unanue a third-generation Spanish American for praising Trump.
Oh look, its the sound of me Googling how to make your own Adobo,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, sharing a video of Unanue speaking.
Castro urged Americans to think twice before buying Goya products.
[Goya Foods] has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations, he tweeted. Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain.
Representatives for Goya did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Washington Post late Thursday.
The Goya company, which describes itself as the premier source for authentic Latino cuisine, was founded in 1936 by Prudencio Unanue and his wife, Carolina, both immigrants from Spain, who launched the brand by opening a small store in Lower Manhattan.
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, according to Goyas website.
Goya, which is now headquartered in New Jersey, has since grown to have 26 facilities across the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Spain, and employs thousands of people worldwide. As of 2014, the Unanues were reportedly worth $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.
In past interviews, members of the Unanue family have credited the brands authenticity for its popularity.
To us, its important to make the connection through a product that maybe were not going to sell truckloads of, but were going to have the product on the shelf so when a consumer goes in they say, Wow, I can relate to Goya because its authentic, this product makes me feel like Im at home, Peter Unanue, Robert Unanues younger brother, told The Post in 2013.
How Goya brought ethnic food to white America
As Robert Unanue, who took over the company more than a decade ago, has said, his family takes pride in becoming part of the culture of Latino communities. In 2011, Goya was honored by President Barack Obama for its commitment to serving Latinos nationwide.
They say, I remember your slogans, I remember that you were in my neighborhood, you were part of my life growing up, Unanue told NBC News in 2016, referring to conversations with people he has met over the years. Thats what makes us more than just a food company.
On Thursday, however, it was the companys storied legacy that left a number of loyal consumers in disbelief over Unanues glowing comments about Trump, who has long been criticized for his anti-immigration rhetoric that many Latinos have said makes them feel scared and worried and vulnerable, The Posts Rachel Hatzipanagos reported.
We are blessed? tweeted chef and humanitarian José Andrés. I think Latinos we are being mistreated
Andréss comments were echoed widely across Twitter on Thursday as critics, many of whom are Latino, denounced Unanue and vowed to no longer support Goya Foods.
The official Twitter account of Latino Victory, a progressive political action committee, promoted the boycott hashtag and urged people to vote.
Its shameful and appalling that the president of Goya Foods is praising the most anti-Latino president in the history of our country, Nathalie Rayes, the PACs president and CEO, said in a statement. We call for a boycott of Goya Foods products and anyone who stands with Donald Trump and against our community.
The movement also drew support from several prominent figures ranging from politicians to celebrities like Chrissy Teigen.
A shame, Tiegen, author of the popular cookbook Cravings, tweeted. Dont care how good the beans taste though. Bye bye.
Some took their outrage a step further, saying that they were immediately purging their households of Goya products, with one person sharing an image of a semi-full trash can. In response, many discouraged the action and suggested that the unwanted items be donated to food banks instead.
Meanwhile, others pushing the boycott promoted alternative brands and shared recipes for Goya favorites, such as adobo seasoning.
Though the intense response to Unanues comments steadily gained steam Thursday, it was met with resistance largely from conservatives who countered the boycott-related hashtags with #BuyGoya and blasted critics for being too quick to cancel the Hispanic-owned business that has a long history of giving back to minority communities. During Thursdays White House event, for example, Unanue announced that Goya, along with other partners, would be donating a million cans of its chickpeas in addition to another million pounds of food in an effort to help relieve shortages caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Twitter, Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy, who is Latina, specifically called out Castro for backing the boycott.
Liberals like Castro dont care about Latinos, minority businesses or millions Goya gives to charity, Campos-Duffy wrote. They care about power! Buy more Goya products!
But at least one person stressed that the fierce blowback against Goya should not have been surprising.
When the vast majority of your customers are Latinos, you might expect a backlash from serving as a prop for a guy who puts brown children in cages, calls countries like El Salvador, shit-holes, denies Puerto Rican deaths and calls Mexicans, rapists and criminals,’ CNN commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas tweeted. Thats all.