Nachos fans everywhere were buzzing this weekend over comments made by a Florida-based Hispanic civil-rights activist to a local newspaper. He took grave offense to fast-food chain Taco Bell's popular Spanish-speaking Chihuahua ad campaign.
"I think it is very demeaning," former Clearwater mayor Gabriel Cazares told Associated Press, referring to the Taco Bell commercials featuring the little, pointy-eared dog named Dinky, whose trademark "Yo quiero Taco Bell" ("I want Taco Bell") has quickly become the '90s version of, "Where's the beef?"
"It is definitely a hate crime that leads to the type of immigrant bashing that Hispanics are now up against," added Cazares, local chapter president of the country's oldest Hispanic civil-rights group, the League of United Latin American Citizens.
According to AP, Cazares urged fellow Hispanics to boycott Taco Bell and write to its corporate headquarters in Irvine, California, demanding them to stop running the four TV spots.
Oops. Seems Cazares' organization isn't behind him.
The Washington, D.C.-based group released a statement Monday saying it has no problem whatsoever with the ad campaign and has no plans to stop it.
"This is a non-issue for LULAC," the statement reads. "We have many more important substantive things to worry about. While a local LULAC member from Florida made some statements to the Tampa Tribune expressing displeasure with the commercials, he was in no way speaking on behalf of the national organization."
Good news for Taco Bell, which has experienced a mucho grande sales boost from the campaign, and claims it test-markets all its Chihuahua advertising with Hispanic focus groups before the spots hit the air waves.
"We don't believe we're portraying the dog in a fashion that is derogatory or insensitive toward Mexicans," Taco Bell spokesperson Laurie Gannon tells AP. "In fact, we think the commercials portray a sort of quasi-Mexican heritage that is cool and hip."
The company also got sprayed with hot sauce last spring when activists for a medical condition called spasmodic torticollis claimed advertising featuring basketball star Shaquille O'Neal showed insensitivity toward their affliction.
They said the spots--in which O'Neal developed a weird neck disorder from compulsive taco eating ("Taco Neck Syndrome")--mocked them.