LOS ANGELES — For years, Richard Montañez claimed he went from being a Frito-Lay janitor to being the inventor of the popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but a report from the Los Angeles Times says he had nothing to do with the creation of the product.
The origin story of the snack went viral. Montañez has written books about it, and there’s even a movie about his story in the works to be directed by Eva Longoria.
However, the Los Angeles Times is now reporting that Frito-Lay has said that Montañez had nothing to do with the snack at all. The company said corporate employee Lynne Greenfeld developed the product in 1989. They said she was the one who came up with the name and brought the product to market.
“None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market,” Frito-Lay said to the LA Times. “We have interviewed multiple personnel who were involved in the test market, and all of them indicate that Richard was not involved in any capacity in the test market.
Frito-Lay says Greenfeld contacted them after she heard about Montañez’s claims in 2018.
The company said this revelation doesn’t mean they “don’t celebrate Richard” but they say the facts don’t support the now viral origin story.
The LA Times said Montañez went from working as a plant worker to a marketing director.