Yesterday was not a good day for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. It’s stock price dropped some 6%. Why?
At some point in recent weeks, the Goodyear plant at Topeka, KS, had one the corporate ritualized one-minute hate sessions in which certain groups were proclaimed as virtuous and others condemned as oppressors. If you’ve been in government or a largish corporation, you’ve probably had to sit through them. At some point, an employee did a screen capture of one of the slides:
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) August 18, 2020
Here the plant management, under the title of “Zero Tolerance,” gave examples of things that could be advocated by employees (BLM, sexual deviance) and things that could not be mentioned (support for police, support for human life).
The slide, via social media, went viral. The required some contortions by corporate management to unsatisfactorily explain what had happened beyond what the slide said: Goodyear was taking sides in a national debate and threatening employees with termination for having incorrect opinions.
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
READ other RedState coverage of this story:
Into the middle of what was mostly a social media affair, jumped President Trump
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
and it got the predictable responses
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 19, 2020
Note: boycotting a company’s products is not now, nor has it ever been, a facet of the “cancel culture.” It just isn’t. Look up the etymology of “boycott” if you have doubts.
Goodyear is a 121-year old company that was founded in Akron, Ohio, and has never left its home, opening a new global headquarters building in Akron in 2013. It employs tens of thousands of Americans. And the President is leading a boycott of it. https://t.co/7dpAtSCdGD
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 19, 2020
“Managing Editor, Pro Football Talk.” lololol.
The tweet became a brief teacup tempest at the daily sh**show
"What was not allowed was Blue Lives Matter.
What was not allowed was MAGA hats.
What was clearly targeted was a certain ideology." pic.twitter.com/IwLiF7J3Rn
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 19, 2020
There are several issues rolled into one here and made much more opaque by President Trump’s fixation on the MAGA gear ban. But let’s clear the decks right now. If you really don’t believe that we are in an existential struggle over the future of the First Amendment in all its parts, then you need to stop reading now because otherwise, your reaction is going to be very much like that of a hog staring at a wristwatch. In my view, you simply cannot look at the events of the past six months and not see we are on the cusp of ceding to government, particularly unelected bureaucracies, the power to limit time, place, and manner of our contacts and interactions with one another, we have seen the right to free exercise of religion curb-stomped with the blessing of John Roberts’s Supreme Court, we have seen the wear of ritual attire that has no purpose beyond signaling the wearer is a loyal drone of the state required.
I don’t think anyone is saying that Goodyear, to the extent that they are an at-will employer, does not have the authority to push whatever corporate propaganda it wishes. I happen to think that supporting a Marxist group that has declared itself hostile to all forms of capitalism and has as a goal the destruction of both the nuclear family and the Constitution might be bad for business, but, then again, I’d also think shutting down US plants and moving those jobs to communist China is bad.
My totally lay opinion is that the ban on political apparel, naming Trump’s message in particular under zero tolerance, while allowing support of BLM, which is backing partisan candidates, is a violation of federal labor law (background). I see people claiming that Biden gear would be banned, too. Still, the absence of such a statement in the slide deck has the effect of forbidding only one candidate from having their message in the workplace while actively encouraging political activity by at least one, but probably a lot more, groups who oppose President Trump.
The real question is, does Goodyear have the right to engage in this kind of douchebaggery with impunity? Of course not. American presidents criticizing American companies over their policies is not new. Obama officially called out Staples and other companies, by name, over what he claimed was an insufficiently generous health care package. The left has aggressively used boycotts to punish companies that conduct business with Israel or which carry a message which the left would prefer you didn’t hear (Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh).
Where I think President Trump went off the rails was by focusing on the MAGA issue. He turned a major trend in enforced silence and enforced cheerleading pushed by corporate America into a narrow and parochial cause focused on himself.
The real issue is the epidemic of American corporations bullying employees into supporting political causes many employees disagree with this. This is not a case of an employer, personally, supporting a cause but of making it clear that employees must either support that cause or remain silent. Such coercion is something no president should stand for. If he objects to the “cancel culture” being used on individuals, he must get behind large employers intimidating their employees into becoming supporters of whatever bullsh** the Woke left is slinging. I also think the call for a boycott was entirely appropriate. This will get the attention of management in a way that no sternly worded note from some conservative legal non-profit will because that tweet caused Goodyear’s stock price to nosedive, and their shareholders and board members will care about that even if the management doesn’t.