At Balswick’s Tire & Auto Service & Detail in Turlock, California, you probably shouldn’t ask for any Goodyear tires. In fact, owner Bret Balswick has taken down the company’s logo from the wall of his shop — and the tires, one assumes, will come next.
Goodyear, in case you haven’t heard, has gone woke. Well, at least one regional diversity training may have done so — but Goodyear corporate isn’t necessarily averse to that kind of wokeness, should it happen to pop up. And that has a lot of its customers nonplussed.
This was the wokeness in question, which was first reported on by WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kansas. It’s a slide, allegedly from a diversity training program Goodyear has its employees going through. At least in this case, an anonymous employee said it was from Goodyear’s corporate office in Akron, Ohio.
Acceptable forms of expression under the company’s zero-tolerance policy: “Black Lives Matter (BLM), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride.” Unacceptable: “Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA Attire, Political Affiliated Slogans or Material.”
“If someone wants to wear a BLM shirt in here, then cool. I’m not going to get offended about it. But at the same time, if someone’s not going to be able to wear something that is politically based, even in the farthest stretch of the imagination, that’s discriminatory,” the employee told WIBW.
“If we’re talking about equality, then it needs to be equality. If not, it’s discrimination.”
At first, a Goodyear spokeswoman gave WIBW this statement about the wokeness slide: “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.”
That got plenty of attention — including from the White House.
After President Donald Trump and others expressed their disgust with the policy on social media, Goodyear made it clear in a statement that it wasn’t part of a diversity training program, nor did it come from corporate. The statement was deliberately hazy on whether or not it was part of some sort of presentation, which would lead one toward some conclusions.
The company also made it clear that while not part of any corporate-approved training program, what was being shown wasn’t necessarily in conflict with company policy, it just hadn’t been hedged properly.
In the statement, Goodyear said “the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class. 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.”
“Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. These are not mutually exclusive.”
This statement is exceptionally well-crafted, but it doesn’t say two things about the slide: It doesn’t say the picture was a fake and it doesn’t say what was on it was necessarily in conflict with company policy.
Granted, you could probably make a case that only including conservative causes on the “unacceptable” side of the ledger would be a type “of advocacy that fall[s] outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.” The company expressed pro forma support for law enforcement.
Aside from that, however, the statement made it clear that a form of advocacy typically associated with liberal social causes is perfectly fine while other forms of political advocacy aren’t.
Whatever the case, Bret Balswick — who owns a small chain of California-based auto repair shops — went viral earlier this week when he expressed his opinions about Goodyear:
“I am a conservative! I am a patriot!” Balswick responded when The Western Journal reached him via Facebook.
“I support our president! We are in the middle of a war for our country! I am fighting for my children and my grand children!”
Generally speaking, the reaction to the sign removal on Twitter was positive.
It even got the tire shop featured on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show:
Of course, there were dissenters, and that’s the point — there are people who aren’t going to go to Balswick’s now, the same way that there are going to be people who don’t buy Goodyear tires.
What was funny is that the same people who were talking about boycotting Balswick’s likely don’t get why people would boycott Goodyear.
Both are private companies, of course, and both can do whatever their little corporate hearts desire. That being said, Goodyear made it quite obvious where its sympathies were in this matter.
The company could have said the slide was fake and didn’t represent its values. It didn’t. You can make very clear assumptions from that. Bret Balswick did, and he’s taking down the Goodyear sign.
There aren’t going to be a whole lot of people who do this publicly, but there are going to be quite a few who do it privately. Wokeness leaves a foul taste in many a mouth. Most of those who experience it, however, aren’t going to express it quite as publicly as Bret Balswick did. But a few more might after this one went viral.
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