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The CEO of tire maker Goodyear issued a statement Thursday clarifying the company’s position on the wearing of certain attire by employees after facing a huge backlash earlier in the week.
On Tuesday, a slide from a companywide “diversity training” presentation circulated online purporting to show that the company would allow employees to wear “Black Lives Matter” and LGBT messaging but not “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” or “MAGA” gear.
The slide was reportedly leaked by an employee of the tire maker’s Topeka, Kan., plant.
Initially, Goodyear dismissed the allegations and denied that the slide was created by the company.
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
But a subsequent leaked audio recording of the presentation confirmed what the leaked slide noted: The company supported BLM and LGBT messaging as ‘inclusive,’ but banned pro-police or pro-Trump messaging as ‘political.’
On Thursday, Goodyear CEO and President Rich Kramer released a statement in which he appeared to backtrack somewhat.
“By now, you are aware of a visual from our Topeka factory that has been circulating in the media. I want to personally clear the record on what you are seeing and hearing,” Kramer noted.
A message from Rich Kramer: By now, you are aware of a visual from our Topeka factory that has been circulating in the media. I want to personally clear the record on what you are seeing and hearing. pic.twitter.com/UqqFeFQn6t
— Goodyear (@goodyear) August 20, 2020
“The slide in question was created by a plant employee to try to explain what is acceptable to wear in the workplace. The slide was not approved or distributed by Goodyear Corporate or anyone outside that facility,” Kramer added.
“I deeply regret the impression it created and want to clarify Goodyear’s position,” he continued, adding that the company does not formally endorse political candidates or political organizations.
Noting that the company has a “longstanding” policy of banning employees from wearing politically expressive attire, the CEO said Goodyear “strongly supports our law enforcement partners and deeply appreciates all they do to put their lives on the line each and every day for our communities.”
Goodyear, he noted further, has “proudly” supplied tires to law enforcement and firefighting personnel for years. In fact, Goodyear makes an “Eagle” line of tires specifically for police vehicles.
“We have clarified our policy to make it clear employees can express for law enforcement through apparel at Goodyear facilities,” Kramer added. “Goodyear has always supported law enforcement and equal justice.”
On its website, however, a pop-up gave additional context to Goodyear’s position and appeared to suggest the company would still permit BLM and LGBT messaging, but not MAGA or ‘all lives matter.’
“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,” the pop-up notes.
“Second, we appreciate the diverse viewpoints of all of our more than 60,000 associates, which are at the heart of many of the policies we establish. Fostering an inclusive, respectful workplace is important to establish teamwork and build culture, which is another reason we ask associates not to engage in political campaigning of any kind in the workplace – for any candidate, party or political organization,” the pop-up notes further.
“Third and finally, Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. These are not mutually exclusive,” it continued.
One of BLM’s co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, clearly stated in a 2015 interview they are both “trained Marxists” who seek political change in the U.S. She is a “protégé of Eric Mann, former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terror organization,” the New York Post reported.
“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers,” she told Jared Ball of The Real News Network, in reference to BLM co-founder Alicia Garza.
“We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk,” Cullors added.
As for Kramer’s explanation, not everyone was buying it.
“Goodyear is still trying to pretend that it didn’t endorse the violent Marxist group ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ban employees from supporting police,” wrote The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis.
America heard what was allowed and not allowed. We heard it loud and clear. We heard from our President as well. All LEO and citizens know what NOT to buy. Dunlop tires I believe are USA made. No more from these left wing Corp. NO MORE. Buy smart
— RKnox (@RKnox19) August 20, 2020
Except we heard the audio. @goodyear is too afraid to allow comments on their dishonest tweet.
— Linda Morgan (@molebird1) August 21, 2020
**Warning: Strong language
But you do support a political organization… the marxists Black Lives Matter that want police defunded…. sooo you can fuck right off. https://t.co/0hwIc2HYs6
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) August 20, 2020
Every single time a company starts up with this political enforcement garbage it goes awry.
Seems to happen more often for the left because their brand of politics is conform or be cancelled.
— Strangely (@ShaolinKungFu81) August 20, 2020
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