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19 Aug, 2020 08:17

Calls for boycott after Goodyear’s ‘zero-tolerance policy’ allows staff to wear BLM shirts but forbids MAGA hats

Calls for boycott after Goodyear’s ‘zero-tolerance policy’ allows staff to wear BLM shirts but forbids MAGA hats

Goodyear has been pelted with social media tomatoes after an employee revealed that the tire company had introduced a new dress code that endorses Black Lives Matter merch but prohibits MAGA attire.

The controversy was sparked by a leaked photograph, taken at the company’s Topeka, Kansas plant, which shows a slide from a diversity training session. 

The slide, titled ‘zero tolerance,’ has two columns in which acceptable and forbidden clothing items are categorized. Under ‘acceptable,’ Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT) are listed. Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA attire, politically affiliated slogans or material were deemed unacceptable. 

The presentation was reportedly prepared by the firm’s corporate office in Akron, Ohio.

“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 who leaked the image told local media. 

The policy struck a nerve with Twitter users, with dozens of people vowing to go elsewhere next time they need a tire change. 

Others took a more snarky approach to expressing their disapproval. 

“I just slashed my own @goodyear tires,” joked one commenter. 

Still, there were some who didn’t see anything wrong with the policy, arguing that Goodyear is a private company and has every right to dictate its employees’ dress code. 

Responding to the social media drama, Goodyear released a statement in which it said it allowed staff to express “their support on racial injustice and other equity issues” but prohibits political campaigning and other forms of advocacy. 

It’s unclear whether Goodyear’s solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other “equity issues” will actually improve its public image. A recent Pew Research poll found that only 19 percent of Americans believe genuine concern over the treatment of black people in the US was a major contributing factor behind companies speaking out about race.

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