Goodyear is yet again backpedaling after a leaked image and audio from an alleged employee training course suggested the company was engaging in apparent discrimination against conservatives, seemingly barring employees from publicly supporting law enforcement or All Lives Matter, while expressly permitting the promotion of Black Lives Matter and pro-LGBT messages.
In a statement from Goodyear CEO and President Rich Kramer released on Thursday, the company “clarified” that employees are permitted to publicly support law enforcement, contrary to the leaked slide and audio.
“The slide in question was created by a plant employee to try to explain what is acceptable to wear in the workplace,” the company admitted. “The slide was not approved or distributed by Goodyear Corporate or anyone outside that facility.”
“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,” Kramer continued, adding, “We have clarified our policy to make it clear associates can express support for law enforcement through apparel at Goodyear facilities.”
The backlash against Goodyear started on Tuesday, when a local news station in Topeka, Kansas, reported on the leaked image from a seminar at the Topeka Goodyear plant. The image lists Black Lives Matter and LGBT pride messages as “acceptable,” and pro-police Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, and MAGA attire as “unacceptable.”
The commotion prompted a response from conservatives, including Daily Wire podcast host and author Matt Walsh, calling on conservatives to boycott the company. And hours later, President Donald Trump echoed the same: “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS,” he tweeted. “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 company issued a murky statement on the same day as Trump’s tweet, though the existence of the slide was not expressly denied, nor was the company’s specific policy clarified. Goodyear did, however, make it clear that they support law enforcement.
“First, the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class,” the statement read in part (emphasis per Goodyear). “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.”
Adding another wrinkle to the controversy, audio for the training seminar in question was later released by news station WIBW. As noted by Walsh, the audio seemingly confirms the discriminatory policy Goodyear earlier danced around:
Indeed, audio from the training session at the Topeka plant has been leaked to WIBW which would seem to put all doubt to rest. According to the audio, employees are instructed that they may “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.” They are informed that such expression is “approved” and in accord with the “zero tolerance policy.” However, any associate who wears anything that says “all, blue, or white lives matter” will be deemed as having acted inappropriately.
The audio was what seemingly prompted Kramer’s statement on Thursday.
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