The board of Goya Foods reportedly voted to silence CEO Robert Unanue for his pro-Trump views, particularly a recent television appearance in which he called into question the 2020 election results.
It seems a shortsighted move, even a betrayal, given how former President Donald Trump’s supporters, including no less than Ivanka Trump herself, rallied to the brand after Unanue was targeted for appearing at a White House event for Hispanic business leaders last summer.
Unanue made headlines at the occasion when he said that the United States was “truly blessed” to have then-President Trump as its leader.
“Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own Adobo,’” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Additionally, Castro wrote: “@GoyaFoods 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. Americans should think twice before buying their products. #Goyaway.”
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
The New York Post reported Goya on Friday “agreed to censure Unanue, 67, for controversial remarks in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 invasion of the US Capitol building, including on Jan. 20 when he called Biden’s election ‘unverified’ during an appearance on Fox Business.”
“The vote by a majority of Goya’s nine-member board means Unanue must now obtain board permission before making any more media appearances, sources close to the situation said,” according to the Post.
During the Fox Business appearance referenced, Unanue suggested on “Mornings with Maria” that the election results are not trustworthy.
“Mission accomplished by the union, the partnership, the conglomerate of social media, Big Tech, big media and government, big government, for ushering in the dawn of a new world order. This great reset,” the CEO said.
“With an unverified election, and the big prize is the United States,” he added. “And they didn’t go after just President Trump. They’re after us now. The 80 million people that voted for him.”
Andy Unanue, a Goya board member and third-generation owner, told the Post that Robert Unanue does not speak for the company regarding politics.
“Bob does not speak for Goya Foods when he speaks on TV,” Andy said last week leading up to the vote. “The family has diverse views on politics, but politics is not part of our business. Our political point of views are irrelevant.”
“More than 50 percent of the shareholders do not want Bob to be the CEO,” a Goya source further stated. “All these political statements that Bob is making is dangerous for the company and for us personally as owners.”
Food Dive reported in October that Goya was spending $80 million to expand a plant in Texas to meet increased demand for its products, including rice and beans.
“The food manufacturer will use the money to purchase new food processing equipment and double the production capacity of the facility to meet increased demand for its products,” according to Food Dive.
The Post reported sales of Goya products in recent weeks are up 10 percent over a year ago.
“We should be growing more than we are,” a Goya source told the paper, noting sales of canned goods have been up generally during the pandemic.
Unanue told the Post that he plans to dial back expressing his political views.
“Independently, I’ve made the decision to lower the temperature and walk away from speaking about politics and religion,” he said. “I realize it’s important because of the diverse views of the company and our market.”
If Goya’s sales were down, year over year, and the company remained the focus of an ongoing boycott effort, maybe board members could make a case for Unanue’s removal.
But the company is growing.
He was right: The nation was “blessed” to have a business leader at the helm as we navigated a global pandemic. The U.S. economy bounced back quicker than the economies of many other developed nations.
Unanue, like a significant segment of society, has concerns about the accuracy of the election results (72 percent of Republicans in a poll published earlier this month), particularly given the irregularities seen in certain swing states.
If audits were conducted and the election results were verified, that would help put these concerns to rest.
None the less Unanue is moving on.
The Goya board should too, and not bite the hand of Trump supporters who helped feed the company and its employees.
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