Levi’s brand president says she was forced out for public opposition to COVID-related school closures

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A Levi’s executive on track to one day run the company was instead fired over her public opposition to school closures.

Jennifer Sey, a former national champion gymnast, had worked at Levi’s since 1999 when she started as an assistant marketing manager. Now, according to an article she published on “Common Sense,” a Substack operated by Bari Weiss, she’s been forced out of her career after already having been forced to uproot her family.

During the pandemic, the mother of four was living in San Francisco and working as Levi’s Brand president. She recounts how she spoke out early against lockdowns, questioning, “whether schools had to be shut down,” feeling that, “the draconian policies would cause the most harm to those least at risk.”

Sey emphasized, “The burden would fall heaviest on disadvantaged kids in public schools, who need the safety and routine of school the most.”

Writing op-eds, organizing rallies, advocating at the mayor’s office and appearing on the local news awarded Sey with condemnation.

“I was called a racist — a strange accusation given that I have two black sons — a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist,” she said.

Sey was also told to “pipe down” by the head of Levi’s corporate communications in the summer of 2020 who reportedly chided, “You know when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company.”

As the calls for her to quiet down continued up the chain, ultimately arriving at the CEO, Sey couldn’t help but point out how frequently the company had taken stands on political issues in the past. From support of Elizabeth Warren during the 2020 Democrat primary and, Sey cited, Levi’s strong stances on, “gay rights, voting rights, gun safety, and more.”

The response she received was school closures were a “hyper-local issue” that the company wouldn’t “weigh in on” and there were “numerous execs who have kids in private schools in the city,” that could face a negative impact.

Feeling her children had endured enough and without the support of her company to bring an impactful change to the situation, Sey took her family and moved to Denver, CO “so that [her] kindergartner could finally experience real school.”

She detailed her thoughts on the move in a lengthy Twitter thread that reads in part:

Sey said the last straw came when she made an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. Wanting schools to be open was treated as a hateful act because “San Francisco’s public school system was filled with black and brown kids,” and detractors accused her of not caring if they died.

The slings of racism brought demands for Sey to take an “apology tour” by the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, despite all the facts to the contrary including her being asked to be “the executive sponsor of the Black Employee Resource Group by two black employees” in 2017. Sey refused to apologize.

In spite of this, she explains that the CEO still told her she was on track to become the next CEO because “the stock price had doubled under [her] leadership, and revenue had returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

“All I had to do,” Sey explained of her taking the helm at Levi’s, “was stop talking about the school thing.”

Ultimately, after daily files of her online activity being sent to the CEO and accusations during meetings that she was “acting like Donald Trump,” she was offered $1 million to resign so long as she agreed to a nondisclosure agreement. Her refusal led to her being forced out.

“Like so many other American companies,” Sey feels Levi’s is “held hostage by intolerant ideologues who do not believe in genuine inclusion or diversity,” and she hopes, in time, those who stayed silent will acknowledge they did so over fear of “incurring the wrath of the mob.”


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