Goodyear Faces Backlash Over Discrimination Policy

A photo of a presentation at a Kansas plant drew the ire of President Trump.


Goodyear is having a bad day.

An employee at the tire maker recently took a photo of a slide of a diversity training presentation. According to WIBW-TV, the presentation took place at the company's plant in Topeka, Kan., by an area manager. The employee claimed that the slide came from Goodyear Tire and Rubber’s corporate office in Akron, Ohio.

The slide displays a simple chart of what is acceptable and unacceptable attire as part of the company's new zero-tolerance policy. The slide lists Black Lives Matter and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride attire as acceptable. 

However, what many — including the whistleblower — took issue with is the topics deemed unacceptable, including Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Make America Great Again, and political-affiliated slogans or material.

The photo spread like a brush fire on social media, and even garnered a response from President Trump who, in a tweet, wrote, "Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!"

About an hour later, Goodyear responded with the following post on Twitter: “Yesterday, Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company. Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so.”

According to Goodyear’s statement, the visual was not created by or distributed by Goodyear corporate, and it wasn't part of a diversity training class. Goodyear stresses that it has a zero-tolerance policy for any forms of harassment or discrimination, and notes that it asks associates to refrain from workplace expressions supporting political campaigns for any candidate or political party, as well as other advocacy that falls outside of racial justice and equity issues. 

In the statement, the company adds that it supports both equality and law enforcement, noting that beliefs that the company is anti-police could not be "further from the truth."

In a press conference, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Goodyear's statement failed to clarify its policy, which clearly targeted a "certain ideology."

According to Reuters, shares in Goodyear fell 4.2% following the President’s tweet. The company nearly reached $15 billion in revenue last year, mostly from tire sales. The company’s branded tires were reportedly on 24% of new vehicles in the U.S. in 2018.

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