So Which Latino Writers Did Chipotle Reach Out To?

Photo:  helenplum.org

After an uproar from Latino activists and authors, Chipotle Mexican Grill has responded to the lack of diversity in its new branding campaign that features short stories from famed authors on its cups and bags.
Calling the initial campaign a “learning process,” Chipotle says that it reached out to 40 authors – including a number of Latino writers – before narrowing down it’s “Cultivating Thought” series to 10 authors, including such celebrated scribes as Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis.
“To get the slate of 10 authors we currently have, we reached out to a diverse pool of more than 40 writers that included Latino authors,” Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told Fox News Latino in an email. “Many more authors declined our request to submit a piece than accepted, including well known Latino writers.”
The new branding campaign is the brainchild of best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer, whose books include “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Eating Animals and Everything is Illuminated.” The award-winning authors, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow and Bill Hader, have contributed very short stories (250 words or less) that will be featured on select cups and bags along with their own distinct artwork.
Following the announcement of the new cups and bags, activists and authors lashed out at the quasi-Mexican food chain restaurant for its lack of diversity in its new campaign.
“In Foer’s world, Latino authors simply don’t exist and simply don’t appeal to his Chipotle worldview of what the chain is advertising as ‘Cultivating Thought’ — the only Mexican cultivation the two approve for their beloved burritos is the tomatoes harvested by Florida pickers,” wrote OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano.
Arnold told FNL that if the campaign proves to be a success and the fast-food chain decides to continue it, they would expand the campaign to include other writers.
“If we move forward with this program, we will certainly look to add to the diversity of contributors, and believe we will be in a better position to attract a wider cross-section of writers with something to point to and given how well this program has been received,” Arnold said.
Despite Chipotle’s reassurances, some authors and activists still question the veracity of the company’s authorial outreach.
“Chipotle’s response that they ‘reached out’ to “more than 40 writers that included Latino authors” is suspect,” author Michele Serros told Fox News Latino. “Our literary community has heard nothing of this so-called outreach to Latino authors.”
But, Serros said, Chipotle also told her colleagues that they would consider a Latino writer for the next round of the campaign.
As an almost ironic silver lining to the controversy, Serros said writer Cristóbal Olivares  found one Latino link to the ‘Cultivating Thought’ campaign.
“Sarah Silverman’s great great grandfather was one-quarter Argentinian!” Olivares posted on Facebook. “Our fears have been assuaged, Chipotle *does* value us!”
To read the full story:  http://www.http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2014/05/22/chipotle-responds-to-latino-backlash-over-bookish-branding-campaign/

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One thought on “So Which Latino Writers Did Chipotle Reach Out To?

  1. Thanks for covering this issue. Over the last few days, we have conducted research that seems to make it clear that Chipotle did not, in fact, invite ANY Mexican American to participate in this project. We have confirmed that they did in fact approach writer Junot Diaz (born in the Dominican Republic, raised in the US) – and perhaps one other writer (Cuban-American )- but so far our exhaustive research of likely Mexican American candidates has turned up nada. For example, Chipotle did not approach SANDRA CISNEROS, DAGOBERTO GILB, LUIS ALBERTO URREA, RUDOLFO ANAYA, GARY SOTO and many others.
    We invite Chipotle to prove us wrong by releasing the names of the Mexican American writers they considered this project. We encourage your reporters to ask them to do so.
    Please visit our Facebook page – Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle’s Missing Mexicans.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cultivating-Invisibility-Chipotles-Missing-Mexicans/386279018177978

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