It’s hard to believe Goodyear would implement a double standard this flagrant a matter of corporate policy, but the evidence does point that way:
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) August 18, 2020
It’s also hard to believe that the president of the United States would call for boycotting a company before making absolutely sure that he has his facts straight, but that appears to have happened as well:
The photo of the slide began circulating yesterday on social media, the font of all bad things in 2020 America. It was allegedly taken at a diversity presentation at a Goodyear plant in Topeka, Kansas. A local news bureau contacted Goodyear to follow up. Was the slide a fake? Or did it represent the policy at that *particular* Goodyear plant? Or does it actually fairly describe the policy for Goodyear as a corporate entity?
The statement Goodyear sent back made it sound like it really was the policy for the corporation:
“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.”
Melissa Monaco, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
It’s provocative, let us say, that the two acceptable “equity issues” listed in the photo are favored by the left and the three unacceptable political slogans featured are associated with the right. They didn’t even bother to stick a “Biden for President” slogan on the unacceptable list to make it look more evenhanded.
So many question. How is “All Lives Matter” impermissibly political whereas “Black Lives Matter” isn’t? There’s an actual political organization called “Black Lives Matter.” Is its apparel unwelcome at Goodyear?
What about a shirt reading “End Affirmative Action” or “End Abortion” or “Strong Second Amendment Supporter”? Are those “equity” issues or “political”?
Trump’s tweet has had the predictable effect:
Goodyear falls 3% as Trump says not to buy its tires because it decided to “allow our associates to express their support on racial injustice“ but “ask that they refrain from workplace expressions … in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party.” https://t.co/vyrB0OqRfc
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 19, 2020
As I’m writing this post, Goodyear is out with a new statement that … doesn’t clear up much, except to say that the slide didn’t come from corporate.
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. pic.twitter.com/oO6jUg2rTR
— Goodyear (@goodyear) August 19, 2020
Where did the slide come from, then? The Topeka plant? Does this mean that “Blue Lives Matter” shirts are okay, or that “Black Lives Matter” shirts aren’t, or did the slide accurately state the company’s policy after all? “[W]e ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party,” the statement reads — before explicitly making an exception for “racial justice and equity issues.”
Well, that’s basically what the slide said. Apart from the rote expression of support for law enforcement at the end of the new statement, we’re left to puzzle out which issues are unacceptably “political” versus which are okay on “equity” grounds. Where does Goodyear stand on “All Lives Matter”? Which “candidate or political party” is implicated by that?
As others have noted, the smart play for Trump here would have been to take umbrage not at the slight to himself and his beloved MAGA brand but at the slight to law enforcement in singling out “Blue Lives Matter” as unacceptable. That would fit perfectly with his campaign message that the left is anti-cop and that woke corporate entities eager to signal how progressive they are will necessarily express hostility to cops too. Instead he spun it as a personal affront. And calling for a boycott of this particular company could have unintended consequences:
Goodyear of course is headquartered in Ohio and makes tires and related products in a number of other swing states.
— Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) August 19, 2020
Akron is known as the rubber city capital of the world, spurred by the innovation & work of Goodyear alongside the hardworking men and women who made it possible. We are very protective of our people and what made Akron the city it is today. Stand down. https://t.co/SGSgsd4buL
— Emilia Sykes (@EmiliaSykesOH) August 19, 2020
Sykes is a Democratic politician in Ohio, an early hint that the other party will try to use this episode as evidence that Trump doesn’t care about the Rust Belt’s economy. If he really were prone to playing the sort of three-dimensional chess his most ardent fans are forever praising him for, he would have highlighted Goodyear’s policy without calling for a boycott and made it all about disrespecting the police. Instead, in all probability, he saw something about the Goodyear slide on Fox, got his ego bruised, grabbed his phone, and fired off his angry tweet without stopping to think or to ask Bill Stepien, “How can we use this most effectively?” Ah well. 2020 America, man: The show never ends.