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Portfolio Books Stands By Richard Montañez’s Claims He Invented the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto

“Richard Montañez embodies the entrepreneurial spirit,” publisher says in a statement

Porftolio Books, the publishers of Richard Montañez’s upcoming book “Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise From Janitor to Top Executive,” said it stands by Montañez’s version of the story amid speculation Montañez might be lying.

The book is due out June 15. Portfolio Books publisher Adrian Zackheim told the LA Times Tuesday, “We are proud to stand with our author. Richard Montañez embodies the entrepreneurial spirit; we salute his dedication to inspiring people to own their own stories no matter what their circumstances.”

Montañez’s claims that he invented the popular Flamin’ Hot Cheeto snack have been under scrutiny this week, after conflicting reports in the Los Angeles Times and NPR said he did — and did not — create the snack.

“Only now, just as his book is announced, are we suddenly hearing an alternate narrative about the development of this product, which seeks to diminish Richard’s contribution and to question the details of long-ago events,” Zackheim added.

Montañez has spoken out about the claims against him and told Variety May 16, “I was their greatest ambassador,” speaking about Frito-Lay. “But I will say this, you’re going to love your company more than they will ever love you, keep that in perspective.”

He told Variety, “all I can tell you is what I did. All I have is my history, what I did in my kitchen.”

Montañez is upset that Frito-Lay told the LA Times that he had nothing to do with the snack, although he claims he invented it. Frito-Lay said, “none of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market… That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard, but the facts do not support the urban legend.”