By Talia Kaplan | Fox News
Radio host Mike Opelka says he’s ‘trying to fight anger with love’.
Radio host Mike Opelka, who ignited the Goya “buy-cott” movement, told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that he’s “trying to fight anger with love.”
On Friday Opelka, a self-described “conservatarian” radio host, tweeted, “My brother came up with a terrific idea and I am encouraging all to join me in purchasing $10 worth of Goya Foods products and donating them to your local food bank.”
“Let’s push a BUY-cott, not a boycott,” he continued. “Let’s show the #Goyaway people what compassion can do.”
Opelka’s tweet received more than 27,000 likes and 12,000 retweets.
“It looks like love is winning and that’s really what this is about, taking a negative and turning it into a positive that works for the employees of Goya and the people who need food right now,” Opelka said on Tuesday.
The idea for a “buy-cott” was in response to backlash over Goya CEO Robert Unanue’s praise of President Trump at a White House event last week.
Many people, including progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., expressed displeasure with Unanue and called for a boycott after he spoke at a Hispanic Prosperity Initiative at the White House on Thursday and said Americans were “truly blessed” to have Trump as a leader. Opelka flipped the narrative and called for a Goya Foods “buy-cott.”
“This is an ‘offendanista’ group, we call them,” Opelka said on Tuesday. “They’re a group of folks who wake up every morning angry because Donald Trump is their president and they look for a reason to dislike him even more.”
Opelka noted that his tweet “seems to have launched several thousand responses from people who are emptying shelves and hopefully filling food banks.”
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Unanue, head of the New Jersey-based company, said Friday the boycott is “a reflection of a division that exists today in our country” that is “killing our nation.”
“We’re with the president. We’re with this country— right, left, center, up and down,” Unanue told Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.”
Unanue called the backlash over his remarks “oppression of speech.”
“In 2012, eight years ago, I was called by Michelle Obama … who wanted to approach the African American community, the Hispanic community to eat more nutritionally,” he said on Friday. Unanue went on to say that he went to the White House and introduced President Obama during an event for Hispanic Heritage Month.
“And so you’re allowed to talk good or to praise one president, but … when I was called to be part of this commission to aid in economic educational prosperity and you make a positive comment, all of a sudden that’s not acceptable.”
He went on to say that he is “not apologizing for saying” what he said on Thursday.
“If you’re called by the president of the United States you’re going to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m busy, no thank you.’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas and I didn’t say that to President Trump,” Unanue pointed out.
Host Steve Doocy asked Opelka if this is “another example of the cancel culture coming after somebody they don’t like.”
“That’s exactly what this is,” Opelka said in response. “What’s going on here is the ‘offendanistas,’ as we call them, are trying to make sure that only their voice is heard and if you don’t agree with them, they want you shut down.”
He called Unanue “a brave man” and said he supports “this CEO” and he “will support any company or any person who says free speech means speech we don’t disagree with and speech we do disagree with.”
“It’s all got to be heard so bravo to that gentleman,” he continued.
The controversy has inspired some Goya Foods fans to give back. Virginia resident Casey Harper started a GoFundMe page on Saturday to buy Goya products to donate to food pantries. The page is already more than 16 times its $10,000 goal.
Fox Business’ Evie Fordham contributed to this report.