It’s pretty bold of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to insist on still being called “Goodyear” in 2020 — by all accounts, a pretty bad year, actually! Anyway, it looks as though the year may have gotten slightly more complicated for them after an image with their branding on it went viral.
Donald Trump even called for a nationwide boycott of the tire manufacturing company, saying that it had put a ban on MAGA hats. As you might already expect, that’s not exactly the whole story. Here’s a summary of the Goodyear debacle as it stands right now.
Why did Goodyear ban MAGA hats?
First of all, saying that Goodyear banned MAGA hats is kind of inaccurate. The claim stems from an image that went viral in mid-August after it was published by a Topeka, Kan. news station. The image reportedly came from a Goodyear employee who said it had been shared by an area manager during a diversity training presentation.
The slide (pictured below) features a Goodyear logo in the upper right-hand corner and a header reading “Zero Tolerance.” There’s also a graph appearing to show what is acceptable (and unacceptable) attire at Goodyear locations. Under the “Acceptable” heading is “Black Lives Matter (BLM)” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT).” Under the “Unacceptable” headline is “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “MAGA Attire,” “Political Affiliated Slogans or Material.”
You can probably guess what happened next. Many people — especially supporters of Donald Trump — took to the internet to claim Goodyear’s policy was discriminatory, anti-Trump, and anti-police.
As a reminder, U.S. federal law protects individuals from discrimination based on sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, or genetic information. Additionally, many states have enacted laws prohibiting the discrimination of individuals based on sexual orientation. There are no federal laws identifying political-opinion-havers or fans of police as a protected group.
That’s when Trump himself called for his supporters to boycott the American manufacturing company. “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!).”
Goodyear released a public statement clarifying that, in fact, the image was not actually created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it included in any diversity training curriculum. They did say, however, that they “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.”
In other words, Goodyear’s policy prohibits workers from wearing clothes that support a specific candidate or political party. A hat emblazoned with Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is not allowed — but neither is a hat that says “You should vote for Joe Biden” (or one of his actual campaign slogans).
Trump’s tweet claiming that Goodyear announced a ban on MAGA hats (or, as he put it, “a BAN ON MAGA HATS”) doesn’t quite cover the whole truth. It’s true that the PowerPoint slide mentions “MAGA attire” by name, but it also clearly includes political attire of all parties. Of course, some people just want to be angry, and they don’t much care about whether their vitriol is warranted.