Former Levi’s exec: ‘Woke capitalism’ in control of boardrooms, CEOs today lack ‘moral courage’

A new memoir written by former Levi’s executive and recovering Democrat, Jennifer Sey, seeks to expose the predations of corporate wokeness and details how she was forced out of the once-iconic and revered denim giant for not falling in line.

The New York Post published a hefty excerpt from Sey’s memoir, titled “Levi’s Unbuttoned: The Woke Mob Took My Job But Gave Me My Voice,” in which she details the circumstances and philosophies that led to her losing her dream job as Levi’s president, as well as her subsequent realization that wokeness and cowardice go hand in hand.

“Corporate leaders want us to believe they are do-gooders, not money-grubbers,” she writes. “They’ll get rich, too, but they don’t want you to think that is their mission.”

‘”Woke capitalism’ is corporate America’s attempt to profit off Millennial and Gen Z activism, often passive keyboard activism.”

“It exploits social-justice politics and transforms it into social-justice consumerism — and ultimately, investor profit. Companies purporting to care about ‘progressive values’ are really doing nothing more than striking a superficial pose meant to signal virtue while distracting from any company’s true motive: financial gain for shareholders.”

“All of that is true. But there is more to it, in my opinion,” wrote Sey, who was at one time the 1986 U.S. Women’s All-Around National Champion in gymnastics.

The excerpt from her memoir continues:

First, you’ve got CEOs and executives who want to distance themselves from the greedy image of past business leaders. They want you to know that they are not like the ruthless banking moguls and oil tycoons from years gone by. They aren’t destroying the planet, and they aren’t taking advantage of consumers with sub-prime mortgages. They aren’t stealing or grifting, they’re helping! They aren’t in it for themselves, they care about you!

Tech companies are well known for their “change the world” cultiness. You don’t just work at Google. You’re connecting people to information that is life-changing, driving the digital revolution at the end of which we’ll all be so much better off than we are now.

Corporate leaders want us to believe that they are do-gooders, not money grubbers. They’ll get rich, too, but they don’t want you to think that is their mission. And, more importantly, they don’t want to think that about themselves. They believe they embody the best qualities of Andrew Carnegie (so generous! so benevolent!), Henry Ford (a visionary who cared about his employees!) and Theodore Roosevelt (a progressive man of action!) all rolled into one.

Business executives would have us believe that they are our saviors. Bill Gates is eliminating malaria and saving the children in Africa. Howard Schultz is running for president to save our democracy. Elon Musk is not only saving the planet with electric vehicles, he is exploring new frontiers in space and defending free speech for the masses.

Somehow, some way, despite all the evidence of greed and corruption, business leaders have managed to re-brand themselves as altruists. Never mind that in 2020, CEOs made 351 times more than the average worker at their company — up from 21 times more in 1965. Indeed, in the last 30 years, their average compensation has grown over 1,000%, even as they have burnished an image as humanitarians.

Of course, the beauty of it all is that simultaneously it endows consumers with a false sense of nobility, encouraging them to believe that buying the right stuff is actually activism. “You like T-shirts? Here — buy this organic cotton T-shirt that also shows you support the LGBTQ+ community because it has our logo but with a rainbow!”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against capitalism. Far from it. I’m against the charade that is social-justice capitalism.

There is, of course, another piece of the puzzle, largely hidden from the public — the degree to which these CEOs are influenced by their Gen Z offspring.

Many have kids who are attending highly woke private elementary schools and high schools — places like Children’s Day in San Francisco, Trinity in New York and Oakwood in Los Angeles. These kids have been coddled and inculcated into gender ideology and critical race theory while denouncing white supremacy at their mostly white — and rich — fancy private schools.

These 20- and 30-somethings are ideological terrorists, policing their peers and elders relentlessly. They are “omnipotent moral busybodies” ridding the world of evil, and they will not rest until they exorcise immorality for the good of those being exorcised.

Why do they do it? Because, as author and economist Thomas Sowell has said, those “who are contributing nothing to society, except their constant criticisms, can feel both intellectually and morally superior.”

By doing close to nothing — wearing the right T-shirt, affixing one’s social media profile with the right badge (for example, “I am vaccinated” or “I stand with Ukraine”) and by canceling the “wrong” people by generating outrage with a finger tap, they are saved.

Most CEOs lack the moral courage to hold their ground. Because they know, deep down, that they aren’t do-gooders, and they don’t want that curtain lifted. So they kowtow to the very vocal minority — the scant few employees marching outside of headquarters or emailing the head of Human Resources. These CEOs are frauds and have no actual courage.


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