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Disgusting Breitbart smear campaign against immigrant owner of Chobani

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In addition to earning a raft of honorary Ph.Ds., Ulukaya has been named a World Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, is the recipient of the United Nations Global Leadership Award, and has committed himself to Warren Buffetts Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half of his wealth to charity. To that end, Ulukaya founded an organization called Tent, which assists refugees in achieving new lives. Ulukaya, who grew up in a town near the Syrian border, says he was inspired in his activism by the plight of the some 2 million Syrians now living in Turkish refugee camps.

And thats where the nativist forces supporting Donald Trumps presidential campaign enter the picture. In 2012, Chobani opened the worlds biggest yogurt plant, in Twin Falls, Idaho. In addition to being one of the countrys largest milk-producing states, Idaho also happens to be one of the five highest refugee-absorbing states per capita, due to its low cost of living and 3.9 percent unemployment rate. About 30 percent of Chobanis Twin Falls work force is composed of refugees, a hiring practice that originated with the companys first factory in upstate New York, where many members of the community had been resettled from places like Vietnam, Burma, and Nepal. Ulukaya has written of the growing need for the private sector to step up and help use its innovation, voice, and resources to address the global forced migration crisis, and hiring refugees to work in Chobanis factories has been his way of putting his money where his mouth is.

For his humanitarianism and thinking outside the traditional corporate box, Ulukaya now stands at the center of a vicious smear campaign. Earlier this year, in a piece originally headlined American Yogurt Tycoon Vows to Choke U.S. With Muslims, a writer for the far-right conspiracy-mongering website World Net Daily falsely claimed that refugees were being sent to Twin Falls specifically for the purpose of working at the Chobani plant and that Ulukaya was call[ing] on [the] biggest American companies to join [an] Islamic surge. (That line was later removed from the piece, as was the headline, since changed to the slightly less inflammatory U.S. Yogurt Billionaire Asks Businesses to Hire More Foreign Refugees.) The allegations have since migrated to the similarly paranoid precincts of Breitbart.com, the alt-right repository of white nationalism and xenophobia whose former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, recently merged seamlessly into the Trump campaign as its CEO. At Breitbart, the story of Chobanis refugee employees has taken on new life as the centerpiece of a broader intrigue. For the past month, Breitbart reporter Lee Stranahan has been filing dispatch after dispatch from the Idaho town alleging a nexus of disease, rape, and jihadall with Chobani and Ulukaya at its center.


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The most sensational component of Breitbart’s “special report” concerns an inappropriate sexual encounter, misleadingly labeled a “gang rape,” involving three refugee minors and a 5-year-old Twin Falls girl in June. Local anti-Muslim activists seized upon the incident, which is under investigation by authorities, and launched a campaign to discredit the entire refugee resettlement program, which Stranahan ominously labels “Idaho’s Globalist Devil’s Bargain.” Last month, a white nationalist organization called the American Freedom Party issued robocalls across Idaho informing listeners that the “nonwhite invasion of their state and all white areas constitutes white genocide.” (This is the same racist outfit that endorsed Trump, calling him the “Great White Hope,” and paid for robocalls on his behalf in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses.)

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Ultimately, however, the unfounded and hysterical attacks on Chobani, its employees, and its visionary founder are a perfect distillation of Breitbart and the presidential campaign onto which it has so shamelessly hitched itself. A toxic mix of lies, innuendo, xenophobia, and resentment, these screeds exemplify a zero-sum worldview in which gains made by the foreign-born must, somehow, come at the expense of real Americans, who, by the way, dont need your stinking, healthy, low-sugar, gluten-free, kosher, halal, foreign yogurt.

(From the OP).


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