President Trump attacks Goodyear in tweet
Goodyear has been forced to release an official response after US President Donald Trump urged motorists not to buy its tyres in a social media message. On 19 August, the President rebuked Goodyear in an apparent critique of its “One Team” equality policies, saying: “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS”. He further suggests that motorists could “Get better tires for far less!” – pointedly undermining the company’s premium brand positioning and performance without reference to any tyre performance or price data.
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!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2020
In response, Goodyear tweeted that the Akron Ohio-based global tyre maker “has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so.” Of course, the dispute goes beyond the red peaked-caps at mentioned in Donald Trump’s tweet. It is worth mentioning that Goodyear is based in the presidential swing seat of Ohio. This context, paired with an alleged screenshot of a Goodyear equality training slide, appeared to suggest that Goodyear wouldn’t allow Trump-supporting “Make America Great Again” caps – so-called MAGA hats – but would allow overt support for the black lives matter movement. This was subsequently interpreted as a lack of support for the US blue lives matter movement, supporting law-enforcement officers.
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
For its part, Goodyear representatives sought to emphasise their support for both groups: “Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company. For those not aware, a widely circulated image sparked a strong reaction, and we wanted to take the opportunity to provide some important context to the visual and our policies.
“First, 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.
“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.
“Third and finally, 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 that believe Goodyear is anti-police after reacting to the visual. 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.”
Trump’s accusations of lack of support for the Police are particularly surprising in light of – in the UK at least – Goodyear’s absolutely dominant position supporting Police fleets. To read more about this, find our analysis of UK Police Fleet tyre supply here.