With Herbalife, Ackman goes beyond undermining people’s jobs and livelihoods, and attacks the integrity of an entire people. He directly insults Latinos – the people he claims he’s trying to “protect.” His July 2014 presentation on Herbalife included the following direct quotes about Latinos: “Many of these people (Latinos) are uneducated” and “They (Latinos) are unlikely to complain culturally, or because in many cases these are undocumented residents.” These comments obviously lack a real understanding of our community, and are both patronizing and offensive to Latinos and to all people.
When his comments are coupled with his CCA investment, it is clear Ackman has no real interest in protecting the Latino community. How can Ackman pretend to have our community’s best interests at heart when his actions only serve to push better wages, healthier lifestyle choices and more employment opportunities further out of reach? What he is protecting is his own bottom line. And in the case of Herbalife, his sole intent is to bring down a strong American business with more than 35 years of serving and improving the lives of its consumers.
In these challenging economic times, now is the time to support companies like Herbalife and the business opportunities it creates, not to destroy American enterprises for personal gain. There is much more at stake than one billionaire’s bet and it is time entrepreneurs and Latinos across the country call Ackman out on his irresp--onsible, destructive tactics.
Allen Gutierrez is the national executive director of the Latino Coalition, one of the largest membership and advocacy organizations for Latino-owned small and midsize businesses. It is based in Washington, D.C., and Irvine. In May, the coalition and Herbalife announced an expanded partnership in which an Herbalife executive would serve on the Latino Coalition Advisory Board, which is dedicated to increasing opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs.
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