Goya CEO Robert Unanue referred to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the company’s “employee of the month,” claiming that the congresswoman’s July tweets about making her own adobo boosted sales.
“When she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000%,” Unanue said during a radio interview with The Michael Berry Show on Monday. “She got employee of the month for bringing attention to Goya and our adobo,” he added, referring to the company’s popular seasoning mix. Goya’s sales figures are not public.
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she didn’t call for a boycott. Her original tweet was part of the backlash Goya faced in July after Unanue spoke at the White House, praising President Donald Trump. He had been invited to the White House as part of the administration’s Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.
In response, Ocasio-Cortez shared a video of Unanue’s remarks in a tweet, saying, “Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own adobo.’” Minutes later, she shared a screenshot of a text that included a homemade adobo recipe.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to a tweet Tuesday asking if she actually called for a Goya boycott. She responded, “No, I just googled how to make my own adobo.” The New York congresswoman went on to criticize media coverage of her remarks, specifically Fox News labeling it a boycott.
Unanue said during the radio interview Tuesday that “our adobo sales did very well after she said ‘make your own adobo.” Goya did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on its sales figures.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro supported Ocasio-Cortez’s sentiment following Unanue’s White House remarks, acknowledging Goya’s “staple” status in Latino households and encouraging consumers to reconsider buying the company’s products.
Days after the speech, Unanue spoke to Fox News and said he was “not apologizing.” He called the ensuing boycott movement “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 said in the Monday radio interview. “To go against people of her own Latin culture — she’s naive.”