LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement on the call for a national boycott of Goya Foods, Inc.:
“Calls for a boycott of Goya Foods are not an unlawful ‘suppression of speech.’ No business has a right to unimpeded sales or never-ending profits. Our First Amendment protects against government suppression of speech. For example, when a government leader urges a foreign country not to allow a member of Congress to enter that foreign country because the government leader does not like what that member of Congress has to say, that is an obvious and unconstitutional attempt at suppression of speech. However, when people choose not to patronize businesses that praise racism or that praise and support racists, that is not an unlawful suppression of speech. In fact, it is the opposite. It is the free people organizing to express their strong and constitutionally-protected view that racism and its equally evil doppelganger, nativism, ought never be praised as responsible leadership.
“Just as boycotts of businesses that continue to advertise on television shows or social media platforms that promote racism are protected expressions of free speech, so too are boycotts of businesses that publicly praise racism.
“There is no excuse for praising racism and nativism as laudable leadership. MALDEF supports those who call for a boycott — a constitutionally-protected refusal to purchase products — of Goya Foods. To regain community support, Goya Foods must do more than apologize or donate product to food banks. It must invest a significant portion of its profits in the work of anti-racism and anti-nativism.”