The House Representative never actually called for a boycott, but only hoped to hold CEO Robert Unanue accountable for his support of Donald Trump.
In July this year, House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a tweet about "boycotting" Goya, the South and Latin American food brand, by making her own adobo at home. The tweet, Goya CEO Robert Unanue claimed, actually had the opposite outcome of what the 'Squad' member hoped it would: it boosted sales. During a radio interview with The Michael Berry Show on Monday, the CEO stated that their sales had apparently grown by a whopping 1,000%, CNN reports. Therefore, Unanue joked that Ocasio-Cortez should be named 'Employee of the Month' for basically running one of the most effective marketing campaigns ever.
Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling “how to make your own Adobo” https://t.co/YOScAcyAnC— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 10, 2020
"When she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000%," CEO Unanue shared on the radio show. "She got employee of the month for bringing attention to Goya and our adobo. Our adobo sales did very well after she said 'make your own adobo.'" Adobo, for those unaware, is a popular seasoning mix used in South and Latin American cuisine. Of course, the food company's sales figures are not public so there is no way to confirm Unanue's claims. Nonetheless, the House Representative took some time out of her day to respond to the CEO's comments regarding her apparent "boycott" of the firm's products. She argues that she never actually called for a boycott.
"No, I just googled how to make my own adobo," she tweeted in response to a user who asked if she called for customers to boycott Goya's products. In July, Ocasio-Cortez shared tweet stating, "Oh look, it's the sound of me Googling 'how to make your own adobo.'" This was following Unanue's remarks during a speech at the White House. The CEO had spoken in support of President Donald Trump. To many Hispanic and Latinx folks and other people of color, this seemed like an act of betrayal after Trump's discriminatory comments and policies against them, immigrants, and Mexicans in particular.
No, I just googled how to make my own adobo.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 8, 2020
But of course Fox would rather indulge their made up fantasies than acknowledge that in the Trump admin’s catastrophic response to COVID, millions of people rushed to buy canned goods which then had to be rationed at grocery stores 🤔 https://t.co/qLHVNn5iJK
Days after his speech at the White House, Unanue refused to apologize despite the severe backlash he and his brand faced. He said that the so-called "boycott" was a form of "suppression of speech." "It's interesting that AOC was one of the first people to step in line to boycott Goya, going against her own people," Unanue added in his Monday interview on The Michael Berry Show. "To go against people of her own Latin culture—she's naive." One would argue, however, that the CEO is the one "going against his people."
For instance, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro came to Ocasio-Cortez's support following Unanue's White House remarks. He acknowledged that Goya's "staple" status in Latino households could be problematic given Unanue's political stance. He too encouraged consumers to reconsider buying the company's products. This incident is probably an important reminder to those who continue to be marginalized in the social and political sphere. Internalized bigotry is very real. Sometimes, folks may still want to perpetuate racial oppression because of their other privileges, such as class. Just because someone looks like you, does not necessarily mean that they really care about you.