Goodyear has been receiving some heat on social media and most recently from President Donald Trump after an employee shared a photo of a slide appearing to show the company’s new zero-tolerance policy, saying it’s “discriminatory.” The employee’s name has not been released and they spoke to WTVY under the condition of anonymity over fears they could lose their job.
The photo shows a slide that the employee said was presented during diversity training at the Topeka plant but that was provided by the company’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio. In a statement on August 19 (more on this below), Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company denied that the material was created or distributed by their corporate office and said it was not part of a diversity training class.
The slide pictured in the viral photo lists what’s acceptable and not acceptable under their zero-tolerance policy. Under acceptable, there’s “Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT).” Under unacceptable, there’s “Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA Attire and Political Affiliated Slogans or Material.”
On August 19, Trump added his voice to the criticism of the company, tweeting, “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!).”
The employee who shared the photo told WTVY:
If someone wants to wear a BLM shirt in here, then cool. I’m not going to get offended about it. But at the same time, if someone’s not going to be able to wear something that is politically based, even in the farthest stretch of the imagination, that’s discriminatory. If we’re talking about equality, then it needs to be equality. If not, it’s discrimination.
Goodyear Issued a Statement Denying That the Slide Was Issued by Headquarters & Said It Was Not Part of Its Diversity Training
Shortly after the image began circulating, Goodyear spokesperson Melissa Monaco provided a statement to WTVY:
Goodyear is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful workplace where all of our associates can do their best in a spirit of teamwork. As part of this commitment, we do allow our associates to express their support on racial injustice and other equity issues but ask that they refrain from workplace expressions, verbal or otherwise, in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party as well as other similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of equity issues.
On August 19, Goodyear issued a lengthier response, posting a statement on Twitter saying: “Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so.” The company wrote that the slide was “not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class.” The company clarified that it does ask that employees refrain from “workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equality issues.”
The company also clarified that they are not “anti-police” and support equality and law enforcement and have “the [utmost] appreciation for the vital work police do on behalf of our shared communities.”
Goodyear Began Trending on Social Media as Many Slammed the Company for Its Policy
Many people took to social media to criticize the company’s controversial policy and Goodyear, and the hashtag #BoycottGoodyear began trending. Author and “pro-Donald Trump political operative” Carl Higbie posted: “Hey @goodyear care to explain this out of your Kansas plant? If this is true i will NEVER buy another Goodyear tire.” Blogger Matt Walsh wrote, “This is outrageous and we conservatives need to get over our aversion to boycotting (which I share). Goodyear shouldn’t get another dime of business from us.”
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote, “An absolute absurdity. If businesses are going to deliberately enter the political realm at the behest of the wokest clientele, then everyone else will have to loudly boycott in response to establish mutually assured destruction.” Radio host Paul Joseph Watson posted, “The notion that expressing support for Black Lives Matter isn’t a political statement is absurd. Goodyear’s statement on this is beyond ludicrous.”
Many said they would boycott Goodyear Tires as a result of the apparent policy. One customer wrote, “I wonder what average lifetime value @goodyear places on their customers. I buy tires every few years at most, and I certainly won’t be buying from them in the future. Seems silly to alienate anybody when purchases are so infrequent in the first place.”
One person wrote, “Thanks, made my decision easier, now I don’t have to consider #Goodyear as an option at all.” Law Enforcement Today posted, “A slide has been leaked from the Goodyear (which loves selling tires to police officers) telling workers what they can and can’t support – and it’s unbelievable.” In fact, many comments pointed out that Goodyear sells tires to police departments throughout the country and added that the zero-tolerance policy may not be well-received by those departments.
According to Goodyear’s government sales website, the company is the “recognized leader for police pursuit tires.” An article about the controversy in Law Enforcement Today reports that “Goodyear tires are the tire of choice on a majority of newly manufactured police vehicles.”
Some People Expressed Support for Goodyear After the Photo Began Circulating
Although it appeared the majority of the comments on Twitter criticized Goodyear’s move, some people posted their support of the apparent policy on social media. One user wrote, “I was just about to buy tires. @goodyear tires it is! #blacklivesmatter #BreonnaTaylor #ElijahMcClain #PortlandProtest #PDXprotests.” Another user responded, “Awesome. You rock @goodyear! Stay strong. Don’t end up walking this back.”
One person wrote, “I will only buy Goodyear from now on. Thank you!” Another explained, “Blue lives is, at the end of the day, a retaliation against black lives matter, where black lives matter are calling for justice and civil rights.”