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Goodyear distances itself from viral image that drew Trump's ire

The giant tiremaker responded to a local news report with an image that purported to show a "zero-tolerance policy" that does not allow political messaging, including MAGA attire.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company logo sits atop the former headquarters in Akron, Ohio on August 10, 2019.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company logo sits atop the former headquarters in Akron, Ohio on August 10, 2019.Kristoffer Tripplaar / Sipa USA via AP file

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. sought to distance itself Wednesday from a viral image about a purported "zero tolerance" policy that bans MAGA attire and which drew President Donald Trump's ire.

The giant tiremaker responded to a report by a local Kansas TV station featuring an image that the news outlet said it received from a Goodyear employee and which was allegedly displayed during a diversity training at a company plant.

The image in the story by CBS affiliate WIBW in Topeka, Kansas, which was widely shared on social media, listed two columns, one headlined "acceptable" and the other "unacceptable."

Under "acceptable" was, "Black Lives Matter (BLM), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT)." Listed as "unacceptable" was "Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA Attire, Political Affiliated Slogans or Material."

The multinational company said in a statement Wednesday that "the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training."

"To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination," the statement said. "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."

The company also said it appreciates the diverse viewpoints of its more than 60,000 associates, "which are at the heart of many of the policies we establish."

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Locations Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Tires are stacked in front of a Goodyear auto service location in South San Francisco on July 22, 2020.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

"Fostering an inclusive, respectful workplace is important to establish teamwork and build culture, which is another reason we ask associated not to engage in political campaigning of any kind in the workplace — for any candidate, party or political organization," the statement said.

And the statement emphasized that "Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. These are not mutually exclusive."

"We have heard from some of you who that believe Goodyear is anti-police after reacting to the visual," the company said. "Nothing could be further from the truth, and we have the upmost appreciation for the vital work police do on behalf of our shared communities. This can't be said strongly enough."

The statement came after Trump rebuked Goodyear in a tweet Wednesday morning.

"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 president tweeted.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked at a media briefing Wednesday about the president's urging a boycott of Goodyear that could potentially jeopardize jobs when most companies ban political speech.

"Goodyear needs to come out and clarify their policy," McEnany responded. "What was clearly targeted was a certain ideology."

McEnany did not respond when asked whether Trump had contacted Goodyear before sending his tweet.

"The reason he called for the boycott was over MAGA," she said. "MAGA is pretty much unanimous with Blue Lives Matter these days if you’ve seen the endorsements."

Daniel Horrigan, the mayor of Akron, Ohio, where Goodyear is headquartered, expressed his support for the company.

"Goodyear has believed in this community for generations, investing in the power, tenacity and honest people of the heartland, which is more than we can say for this president. #WeStandWithGoodyear," Horrigan tweeted.