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Goya CEO calls Ocasio-Cortez his 'employee of the month,' claims boycott call boosted sales

Robert Unanue, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 11:29:14-05

Goya CEO Robert Unanue claims that calls to boycott his brand prompted by his trip to the White House this summer actually boosted his company's sales.

During an interview with conservative talk radio host Michael Berry on Monday, Unanue called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the lawmakers who was critical of his trip to the White House, his "employee of the month."

"She got employee of the month for bringing attention to Goya and our adobo," Unanue said.

Unanue was referring to an Ocasio-Cortez tweet in which she implied she would begin making her own adobo sauce rather than buy Goya's.

On Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that she never directly called for a boycott of Goya.

Goya, which produces dozens of products typically used in foreign foods, is a privately-owned company, meaning it is not required to report sales records or revenue reports publicly.

Calls for a Goya boycott bubbled up in July when Unanue attended a White House event where President Donald Trump signed an executive order that established a Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Department of Education. During that event, Unanue spoke glowingly of Trump.

"We are all truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump," Unanue said.

Given Trump's past racially-charged language against Latin Americans — in particular, referring to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "criminals" on the day he announced his candidacy in 2015 — opponents of the president called for a boycott of Goya foods.

In the hours after Unanue's comments, terms like #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending on Twitter.

In the weeks following the event, Trump rushed to Unanue's defense. At various points, he and his children posted photos while posing with Goya products and shared them from government social media channels — a move that prompted an ethics investigation.