Richard Montanez is speaking out.
Richard had previously worked as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and eventually pitched his idea for a new flavor of the snack to some of the higher-ups at the company.
However, Frito-Lay revealed that they had no records of Richard‘s involvement in the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos test market and that he has no claim being the sole inventor of the product.
Richard spoke with Variety on Monday (May 17) about the company’s statement.
Click inside to see his response…
“I was their greatest ambassador,” Richard said. “But I will say this, you’re going to love your company more than they will ever love you, keep that in perspective.”
He also added that he worked in a separate division than Lynne Greenfeld, the employee who first raised concerns about Richard‘s claims, and he hadn’t heard of her before.
“In that era, Frito-Lay had five divisions,” he explained. “I don’t know what the other parts of the country, the other divisions — I don’t know what they were doing. I’m not even going to try to dispute that lady, because I don’t know. All I can tell you is what I did. All I have is my history, what I did in my kitchen.”
Richard said that he believes the lack of documentation regarding his contributions is related to his lower-tier job.
“Nobody was telling me, ‘This is how executives work.’ I wasn’t a supervisor, I was the least of the least,” he said. “I think that might be one of the reasons why they don’t have any documentation on me. Why would they?”
“I think that [the film is] going to inspire people to do the right thing. Don’t make the mistake Montañez made. Document everything,” Richard said. “The story isn’t really about Hot Cheetos. The story is about overcoming adversity and racial discrimination.”
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