President Donald Trump called for a boycott of Goodyear tires after the company reportedly told employees they couldn't wear "Make America Great Again" or "Blue Lives Matter" attire.
"Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS," Trump tweeted Wednesday about the company founded in Akron, Ohio. Hours later at a White House press conference, the president accused Goodyear of playing politics.
But the company said on Wednesday it did not announce such a specific ban. It said only that it asked employees to refrain from workplace expressions involving political campaigning or “forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.”
Trump's call to boycott came after a Goodyear employee at a Kansas plant shared a photo that listed causes as "Acceptable" and "Unacceptable" under a zero tolerance policy. The image notably listed Black Lives Matter as acceptable, while "Blue Lives Matter," "All Lives Matter," "MAGA Attire" and "Political Affiliated Slogans or Material" were labeled unacceptable.
The worker claimed the photo was taken during a "diversity training," but Goodyear said Wednesday that wasn't true.
"Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company," Goodyear said in a statement shared on Twitter. The company added that its corporate office did not release the zero-tolerance slide and it was not part of a "diversity training class."
Goodyear added that it has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination, so it's been a longstanding corporate policy to ask employees to "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."
The company said it appreciates the "diverse viewpoints" of all its more than 60,000 employees and has "always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement."
Goodyear also said it's not "anti-police."
"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," Goodyear's statement said.
It’s not unusual for companies to discourage employees from engaging in political activity at the workplace through their electronic communications and dress code.
Many pointed out after the tweet that the presidential limo, nicknamed "The Beast," uses Goodyear tires. When asked whether he was in favor of the limo switching to another brand, Trump said he would be in favor of that.
“If you can wear a Black Lives Matter hat, guess what, you should be able to wear a Blue Lives Matter one, too," she added.
Goodyear has a more than 120-year history in Ohio, a battleground state in the presidential election. Most of its competition is headquartered outside the United States.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, tweeted that “It’s absolutely despicable that the President would call for a boycott of an American company, based in Akron, that employs thousands of U.S. workers.”
Presidents have at times used the bully pulpit to go after companies, but Trump has taken that opportunity to an elevated level, often with little or no pushback from GOP lawmakers.
Moments after Trump's tweet, Sr. White House reporter for Bloomberg Jennifer Jacobs reported that Goodyear stock had fallen at least 3%.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.