Chobani yogurt CEO receives death threats for supporting refugees
Shawn Barigar is the Mayor of Twin Falls, Idaho, where Chobani has a large facility. He spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about the backlash he has faced for supporting the company:
Shawn Barigar: It's a handful of local people fed by a larger national anti-refugee movement. I've received some threatening voicemails and emails, and my wife received a death threat as well, but they've been relatively isolated and not generated from Twin Falls.
Carol Off: What was this in response to?
SB: This recent round of concern stems from a case where a young girl was sexually assaulted. Other juveniles were involved in the case who are from refugee families. That sparked a narrative that the city council and the prosecutor's office were covering up what refugees were doing in our community. That false narrative took off like wild fire.
CO: How have you responded to it?
CO: The kind of reaction you've had... does it have anything to do with the series of articles that the news agency Breitbart has been publishing about Chobani and its refugee hiring policy?
SB: Yeah, so when we had the sexual assault incident earlier this summer, that's when refugee resettlement got onto Breitbart's radar. They ran a series of stories that tied together cherry-picked information about refugees and wove them into a very false narrative about what really happens in our community. Some of these news articles made it sound as if this was part of the culture of refugees, that it was encouraged by the parents, that it was a result of Chobani coming here, that local government officials are being paid off by the federal government to turn a blind eye... that's all just made up. It's all false, and it got woven into this story that is totally crazy.
For more on this story and how the company's CEO has received death threats, listen to our full interview with Mayor Shawn Barigar.