Rubber Hits The Road: Goodyear Under Fire For Listing Of Unacceptable Symbols

932px-Goodyear_Cord_Tire,_1920Goodyear Tire company is under fire this week for a listing of acceptable and unacceptable symbols or attire in the workplace.  President Trump has railed against the inclusion of MAGA hats as “unacceptable” and called for a boycott.  I do not agree.  I think it is appropriate to ban political endorsements or symbols in a business but there is a legitimate concern over what is deemed “acceptable.” The touchstone of free speech protections is content neutrality and Goodyear appears to be enforcing a viewpoint preference. The question is whether, as a private business, it has an obligation to be neutral.

The story went viral after a Goodyear employee shared a slide from a recent company diversity training session at a plant in Topeka, Kan., which showed two categories: Acceptable and Unacceptable.  The acceptable items included Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT). The unacceptable items included Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA and politically affiliated slogans or material.

The MAGA reference is what set off President Trump who declared “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!).”

While stressing that the list came from a diversity training session, the company did not deny the line drawn between these groups and causes. The company released as statement that:

“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.”

I get the policy on barring “forms of advocacy” and businesses have the right to impose limitations, an issue that we discussed on the NFL kneeling controversy. However, the list does not seem to follow a needed bright-line rule to avoid the appearance of bias.

The inclusion of Black Lives Matter but not Blue Lives Matter raises the most obvious concern over a preference for political viewpoints. There are some people who support the call that Black Lives Matter but do not support the organization. Others support both the Black Lives Matter as well as Blue Lives Matter.  I understand the view of many people that we need to focus on BLM to address problems of racial justice in our system.  But it is a viewpoint preference.

In my view, Goodyear has a right to limiting viewpoints expressed in their stores. For example, a clothing store may want to espouse environmental causes. In taking such an approach, there is an obvious risk of boycotts and backlash but I do not believe that there is a legal requirement to evenly apply such rules in a private space.  Even with government property classified as a non-public forum, content-based speech limitations need only be reasonable and viewpoint-neutral. Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 46 (1983). In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled in Grayned v. City of Rockford that in determining the time, place, and manner limitations on speech “[the] crucial question is whether the manner of expression is basically incompatible with the normal activity of a particular place at a particular time.”

In this dispute, Goodyear is allowing some advocacy while barring other forms of advocacy. However, this is a private space (albeit open to the public). The first amendment applies to government limitations on free speech. Thus, Goodyear is likely to face economic and political consequences rather than legal consequences for its policy.  Goodyear reportedly stocks fell six percent after the Trump call for a boycott.

 

132 thoughts on “Rubber Hits The Road: Goodyear Under Fire For Listing Of Unacceptable Symbols”

  1. Generally speaking, I do not favor boycotts. That said, I just bought a pair of tires three weeks ago — before this contretemps — and chose a competitor based on ratings and price. So I won’t be needing tires any time too soon. However, when I do I will look to see how Goodyear management responds to this. If they ban ALL political expression in the workplace, I am fine with that. However, if it continues to allow non-partisan points of view on the Left (BLM, LGBTQ+, pro-Carbon Tax) while denying opposite views (Blue Lives Matter, anti-Open Bathrooms, anti-Carbon Tax), the the company is choosing to act unreasonably and I will no longer consider its products as those from which I choose next time I buy.

  2. I bought a new set of competitively speed rated/load rated tires for my Toyota Matrix sportswagon for less than half of Goodyear’s asking price online from Tire Barn. The only difference between them and the Goodyears was the reek of virtue signalling.

  3. “YOU TAKE THE FRONT LINE WHEN THERE IS DANGER”

    “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

    – Nelson Mandela
    _______________

    Nelson Mandela praises President Trump for taking the front line; for being fearless, speaking with crystal clarity and not mincing words in his battle against the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) for America.

  4. I have a Kansas City Chiefs arrowhead hat. It’s red. I wear it so that when someone is triggered by my red hat and then sees its a KC Chiefs hat they will realize they’re an a**hole. It’s a teachable moment.

    1. Wow! The first time i submitted this I spelled out the word with the asterisks. It’s awaiting moderation. But ther ** version went right through.

      Who is moderating here? Mr. Rogers???

  5. Facebook banning hundreds of patriotic sites but leaves ANTIFA ones intact

    Facebook also gave money to BLM

    Facebook is your enemy. Why is anybody still on Facebook? I know, easy way to keep up with people.

    Well, so was Myspace. Then, it became the sign of being behind the times. FB is near end of its shelf life.
    Eventually it goes the way of Myspace, and oh that can happen so very fast.

    The Left actually hates FB and normal people should too. They steal your private info, sell it to make billions, and give you a lame bulletin board in exchange.

    https://quantummarketer.com/facebook-sucks-heres-why-its-dying/

    A Facebook web page full of personal stuff is a sign that you still don’t get it.

  6. I know that many police forces have a policy of preferring American-made cars. I wonder if the same policy goes for tires. If so, I wonder if Goodyear really sat down and thought out the consequences of potentially alienating every single police force in the country. There are plenty of really nice foreign made tires out there. Besides the 70 million individual Trump voters, what about organizations? Right/wrong, illegal/legal aside, seems like a really bad business decision. I live near Akron. It’s one of those “would the last business to leave please turn out the lights” cities. You would think they would have thought this one out a little more carefully.

    1. Very good point, Allison. The preferred tires for police vehicles have been for many years, Goodyear and Bridgestone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the shift to Bridgestone as the replacement tires of choice.

      1. James Feldman, the stock of Bridgestone and Cooper went up and Goodyear went down. Personally, I like Michelen.

  7. BLM guy says looting and rioting are good, again

    this is the sort of fellow who’s receiving corporate donation money from above

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/disavowed-blm-leader-defends-looting-rioting-because-us-steals-diamonds-oil

    BLM is the Democratic party sacred cow. They had BLM all over their infomercial of a convention.

    Vote Biden if you like BLM and its rioting and looting

    VOTE TRUMP FOR LAW AND ORDER

    AND TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS. BE WILING TO LOSE FRIENDS OVER THIS. IF THEY SUPPORT RIOT AND LOOTING THEN THEY ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE

  8. It must be a horrible thing to be old and missing affection because of one’s cantankerous disposition. You angry old guys need some loving. It’s obvious when you devote so much energy to a seemingly life of endless complaints.

    or maybe that’s the nature of the right wing.sad.

    1. Olaf, I dont know who you talking bout, but i volunteer to speak up for the cantankerous. This is a legendary American trait worth examining.

      Perhaps we just reserve our love and affection for our private lives, for our friends and family, for those who deserve it

      For those who would destroy us, we offer spite for spite, blow for blow, according to the ancient law

      And nature’s process of evolution didn’t just give us touchy feely emotions, it gave us also, the gifts of fear, anger, and hate

      Fear awakens us to danger

      anger gives us the energy when we need to do what is fearful

      and hate gives us the resolve to keep doing it until the matter is resolved.

      Now, of course such things can be a vice if allowed to run loose in an immoral way.

      so now let me share one of my favorite cinematic images of hate and anger, let go to an immoral degree, the monomaniacal end of Captain Ahab, played by Gregory Peck

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UvRBEkFBrE

      O ye whale, ye damned whale! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!

    2. It’s not so horrible being old Olaf. But you tell us, it must be horrible proving each day the brilliant Albert Einstein’s axiom of the two infinites, correct?

          1. We Danes are different from Americans. Our minds tend to be fluid and up for adjustment. We tend to think of the group as opposed to one’s self.

            Some might say that’s not a bad thing!

            By the way, more of my peers are GOP registered than not. I have plenty of mislead conservative friends.

            You can thank us for Jury trials and a myriad of other Danelaw things you take for granted!

            1. You can thank us for Jury trials and a myriad of other Danelaw things you take for granted!

              In your imagination only. The courts of shire and hundred operated outside the Danelaw.

              We Danes are different from Americans. Our minds tend to be fluid and up for adjustment.

              You’ve said absolutely nothing in this forum that’s going to persuade anyone you are of peculiar perspicacity. You’re not puerile (FishWings), or given to posting text walls of Democratic talking points cribbed from Bezos and Sulzberger (P. Shill), or given to lying and obfuscating (Gainesville under several sock-puppets), or a manifest head case (Natacha, Isaac, Bill McWilliams). Small favors.

              1. TIA:

                “You’ve said absolutely nothing in this forum that’s going to persuade anyone you are of peculiar perspicacity. You’re not puerile (FishWings), or given to posting text walls of Democratic talking points cribbed from Bezos and Sulzberger (P. Shill), or given to lying and obfuscating (Gainesville under several sock-puppets), or a manifest head case (Natacha, Isaac, Bill McWilliams). Small favors.”
                ***************
                “Puerile” is the exact adjective. Please copyright this paragraph. I want to use it often with attribution.

    3. Olaf:

      Maybe you would better understand the nature of the right wing if you made a conservative friend, and got to know their beliefs.

      1. Care to see the sludge that comes over our Facebook wall? All of these people are familiar with The Other. It doesn’t affect their thinking at all.

          1. I like to keep in touch with my relatives and old co-workers. Some of them are political sectaries.

        1. A reporter at today’s press conference asked President Trump to comment on some remarks Barack Obama made about him. Trump summed it up by saying, “They (Obama/Biden) did such a bad job that I now stand before you as President.”

          Boom chaka laka BOOM!

  9. I remember a long time ago when the goodyear a/t was a big hillbilly fave on a jeep or such like orv. well, that’s long gone i figure. not my thing, just summer job stuff
    a redneck at the mud bog with goodyears might as well show up with a case of Tsingtao beer in his cooler. not gonna make friends like that, stupid!

    https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/want-know-where-all-those-corporate-donations-blm-are-going-n1225371

    these corporations hate us because we dared to interfere with their dirty deals with the CCP

    “Airbnb

    The home-sharing site tweeted on June 1 that it will be giving a total of $500,000 to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter.

    Amazon

    The retail and technology giant announced on June 3 that it plans to donate a total of $10 million to 11 organizations, including the ACLU, Equal Justice Initiative, and the NAACP.

    Apple

    In a note to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he had donated to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, The New York Post reported. However, it is unclear how much money Apple has donated.

    Full coverage of George Floyd’s death and protests around the country

    Away

    The trendy luggage brand announced it would be donating money to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and The Bail Project. Away encouraged those who saw the post to do the same, but did not specify how much money it would donate.

    “At this time we are not disclosing the exact amounts of Away’s donations,” a representative from Away told NBC. However, Away’s co-founder and chief brand officer Jen Rubio and her partner Stewart Butterfield announced they would donate $700,000 to Black Lives Matter, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Bail Project, The Equal Justice Initiative, the Center for Policing Equity, Campaign Zero, Project NIA, Color of Change, Until Freedom, and the Loveland Foundation. Rubio and Butterfield also pledged to match donations up to $300,000.

    Coca-Cola

    The legacy American brand Coca-Cola released a statement on Twitter on June 3, announcing that it would be donating to 100 Black Men “as a part of the effort to end systemic racism and bring true equality to all.” The statement did not include how much money the company plans to donate.

    Facebook

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday that his company would be donating $10 million “to groups working on racial justice.” He said the company is “working with our civil rights advisors and our employees to identify organizations locally and nationally that could most effectively use this right now.”

    However, this response has largely been overshadowed by internal division over Zuckerberg’s decision not to flag or remove a number of President Donald Trump’s posts.

    Glossier

    The beauty brand released a statement on Instagram saying the company planned to donate $500,000 to “organizations focused on combating racial injustice.”

    The statement specifically cited Black Lives Matter, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and We The Protesters.”

  10. HEY GUYS LOOK AT THIS CONSUMER REPORT FROM 2017

    https://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside-chat/887382-goodyear-tires-suck-how-do-they-stay-business.html

    well, using all the cheap slave labor the CCP offers to goodyear at their massive Dalian facility, the cost of labor is pretty low.
    quality sucks but who cares, right? I mean what’s the worse that can happen if you get a defect and a blowout and have a massive car crash?
    but you saved a couple bucks buying cheap junk from China. BLM thanks you, Goodyear is probably a donor.

  11. Purchased 1,000’s of tires over the years (fleet) left Goodyear because of quality and price. Now I see that leadership is made up with a bunch of “Nincompoops”. There are many companies that don’t deserve to be patronized for their lack of respect to United States of America!

  12. Goodyear made a huge error allowing an outside firm to come in on a very hot topic not have reviewed it all the way up. Now they are paying the price to be so called socially acceptable to the MINIORITY and Twitter Junk.

    Trump supporters are 70 million plus plus, that is a strong buying force.

    Goodyear should immediately terminate their relationship with this outside firm and also investigate who and why they were hired.

  13. “I understand the view of many people that we need to focus on BLM to address problems of racial justice in our system.”

    Professor, I could not disagree more. Anyone except someone who chooses to be ignorant must recognize Black Lives Matter as a criminal enterprise bent on doing as much damage as possible to this country. The members could not care less about black lives; all they care about is their ability to raise hell, raise money off of white-guilt patsies, and destroy law and order. To compare that group to a legitimate protest is nonsense.

    I do not choose to patronize a company who not only recognizes Black Lives Matter but allows its employees to make political statements only if they are favorable to that bunch of criminals and thugs. That is anti-American even if a private business is not governed by the First Amendment. Over the years, I’ve bought a lot of tires from Goodyear. No more. And for those on this blog who think it is so wrong for President Trump to suggest a boycott if the company does not clarify this policy, why is it ok for people of your ilk to promote boycotts of businesses they don’t like or even go so far as to have a couple of small business bakers prosecuted when what they were being asked to do conflicted with their religious beliefs?

  14. As a business matter, that is really stupid. Who buys more aftermarket tires – Trump supporters or progressives?

    Also, implicitly treats BLM as not a politically affiliated slogan when in fact BLM is overtly raising money for Act Blue. So hypocritical.

  15. Trump supporters would be more than happy to buy Russian tires rather than American tires if the Dear Leader said so. After all, they buy MAGA hats and t-shirts made in China.

      1. Sorry to call you out, James, but you’re a liar: FishWing’s rhetorical diarrhea is anything other than a nice try.

        The Nitwit Cabal (TM) (Seth Warner, FishWings, Natacha, ByTheBook, Svelaz et al.) seem to have made it their life’s work to argue in bad faith about every topic raised on Mr. Turley’s blog. They should be pointed out and summarily ignored.

        1. So, expressing a joking opinion with “nice try” makes me a liar? Perhaps it does, but in Bizarro World, a place that this world is, unfortunately, becoming more and more similar to.

  16. Personally, I think Goodyear should have banned all political apparel at the work place. That includes BLM, and all Democrat and Republican clothing. You would think that selling tires in a crashed global economy would have their full focus. Employees AND CUSTOMERS of all political persuasions should feel welcome at Goodyear.

    However, it is a private company. If it wants to promote hard core Leftist movements that are bigoted and promote violence against the police, like BLM, then that is their purview. However, I won’t ever buy Good Year tires again. The company message that claimed that it promoted equality is clearly false. BLM does not promote equality at all, but rather violence, crime, and bigotry. BLM is an anti-capitalist, anti-police political movement, not an organization that improves black lives.

    I also agree with Professor Turley that many people, like me, believe that black lives matter. We just oppose BLM, the organization. The entire premise of individual rights means that black lives matter equally with the lives of any other race.

    Goodyear should have focused on the business of selling tires. Instead, they created a Leftist political activist environment in the workplace, that was tailor made to be hostile to conservatives. They are a tire company. That’s a salt of the Earth industry that typically appeals to conservatives.

    Conservatives who shop based on the values of the company should boot Goodyear off their list of preferred products. However, I do not agree with President Trump calling for a boycott. Cancel culture is rising. Goodyear has the right to do business under a Leftist activist bent, which they foolishly deny. I don’t want them cancelled. But I am disgusted at the perpetual bigotry and selective censorship of conservatives. I already cleaned out our closets of Nike shoes. When my son is old enough to shave, I will remember never to buy him Gilette, as the manufacturer of the basic shaving utensil is misandrist.

    I will not spend a dime on a company that is prejudiced against me and mine.

    1. KaranS has it right. Problem is companies like Goodyear are publicly traded.. Their Board of Directors and Executives don’t pay any attention to the subsidiaries or branches who trade in this type of “training.” The corporate Headquarters are clueless to the damage these individual “training” seminars are doing to the brand. It is time to start firing and demoting those involved in this politicalization of the corporate culture. Unless of course the Board of Directors is part of this type of bullying and hectoring of its’ employees. In fact those companies indulging in this type of activity MUST be subject to the marketplace of ideas and the resulting crash of their stock prices or the increase in the valuation of that same stock as one the market dictates. The public determines how a publicly traded company is evaluated NOT some politically driven Board of Directors or a CEO’s personal views. This type of policy will rise or fall on its public acceptance NOT some POV dictated by its’ elitist or clueless leaders. Watch how they react IF their stock tanks and people don’t accept tinder products anymore.

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