Even Beans became Political in America
Author: Quinta Allaya Emirsyah
For decades, Goya Foods has been a staple for many Latino families across United States and abroad. With the famous canned red kidney beans as their trademark product, this Hispanic-owned company is the perfect depiction of achieving the “American Dream” since it was founded by a Spanish immigrant, Don Prudencio Unanue, in 1936. Majority of their POC consumers grew up with a sense of cultural attachment to the brand. However, they were left disappointed when Goya Foods’ CEO, Robert Unanue, publicly praised the controversial President Donald Trump in July 2020.
It all started when Unanue delivered a speech at a White House event in which President Trump signed the Executive Order on the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, a policy to enhance Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities. However, given his previous crude remarks about the race such as “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico,” and “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” people were quick to point that it was just a facade to entice Hispanic voters on the upcoming presidential election. In his speech, Unanue spoke highly of the president, even commending him as a great leader. As a result of his tone-deaf remark, people start boycotting Goya Foods products – replacing them with other brands to make Hispanic cuisine and trending hashtags such as #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya on social medias.
Only adding insult to injury, Unanue stated that the public backlash was a “suppression of speech” and he did not intend to apologize. However, the boycott over Goya Foods is justifiable since their Hispanic American patrons are often marginalized under the Trump administration. At the end of the day, as one of America’s biggest CEOs, he should understand that his actions always reflect the brand that he leads.