AKRON — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. finds itself in the center of a national controversy after President Donald Trump called for a boycott of the tire maker's products in a Wednesday morning tweet.
"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!)," President Trump wrote on Twitter at 10:33 a.m.
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!).— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020
By lunchtime Aug. 19, the terms "Goodyear" (No. 2) and "MAGA" (No. 6) were trending in the U.S. Top 10 on Twitter.
On Aug. 18, a photo was widely circulated on social media that appears to outline Goodyear's rules regarding wearing political attire at work. The photo and audio of the meeting were obtained by WIBW in Topeka, though its authenticity has yet to be confirmed by Tire Business.
A photo alledgedly of a presentation slide from Goodyear Topeka, Kan., plant with Goodyear "one team" branding and the header "zero tolerance" lists apparel with President Trump's Make America Great Again (MAGA) slogan as being unacceptable along with "All Political Slogans or Material" as well as "Blue Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter." The slide lists work apparel promoting "Black Lives Matter" and "Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender Pride. (LGBT)" as acceptable.
“Some people may wish to express their views on social justice or inequity or equity issues such as black lives matter or LGBTQ pride on their face coverings, shirts or wristbands," an unidentified speaker said on the recording. "That will be deemed approved, because it applies with a zero-tolerance stance. However if any associate wears all, blue, white lives matter shirts or face coverings, that will be not appropriate.
“... We all work together to make tires. That’s what we do,” the speaker continued. “That’s what we get paid to do. So, let’s continue to do that and do the right thing and keep this place what it has always been, a good place to work.”
Goodyear said the slide was not created or distributed by 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
"First, the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class," the company said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination. To enable a work environment free of those, we ask that associates 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 equity issues."
Shares of Goodyear stock were trading at $9.58 at 10:30 a.m. and fell to $9.36 by 10:35 a.m., two minutes after Trump's tweet. The stock had rebounded to $9.48 by shortly before noon after previously closing at $9.73.