Jennifer Sey’s Journey to Medical Freedom and Free Speech
Jennifer Sey joined the fashion company Levi Strauss and Co as an entry-level marketing assistant in 1999. Twenty-three years later, Ms. Sey had worked her way up to the position of Brand President, and she was poised to become the next CEO, after playing a significant role in saving the company from bankruptcy in the decade prior.
Like so many other brave American men and women in the Medical Freedom movement, Ms. Sey put her entire career at risk in 2020 to speak out in protest when the government, public health authorities, and education system created an environment in response to COVID that was detrimental to children. Ms. Sey lived in San Fransisco with her family when the world shut down due to COVID. In her area, the government kept schools, playgrounds, basketball courts, hiking trails, and beaches closed for close to a year or more. Mask mandates were put in place for children and toddlers, and Ms. Sey was outspoken against these practices immediately.
A Two-Year Internal Battle With Peers
Ms. Sey spoke out forcefully against lockdowns and mask mandates from the beginning of COVID restrictions while keeping children at the center of her concerns. The corporate environment that Ms. Sey operated in became extremely uneasy about her public comments on social media and elsewhere, and internal tension set in shortly after Ms. Sey made her opinions known.
Ms. Sey was asked by the company not to discuss these topics publicly. She politely declined, and so began a dance where every couple of weeks another poor employee was tasked with bringing up the subject with Ms. Sey yet again, only to be told that this was too important for her to keep quiet about.
The hypocrisy of this ongoing struggle continuing while Levi’s employees’ children were already back in private schools, while low-income children who attended public schools were still sitting at home must be noted. Men and women who were affluent enough to afford to send their kids to school when private schools were the only ones offering in-school learning were chastising Ms. Sey for advocating for those less fortunate with no voice.
In January 2022, the dance came to an end. Ms. Sey was officially informed that there was no longer a place for her within the company because of her views:
“Rather than accept their severence, which involved hush money to stay quiet about the censorship and the bullying I had endured over my final two years, I quit very publicly to expose the illiberalism and the censorship and the hostility directed at anyone who dared challenge the mainstream narrative.”
– Jennifer Sey
Ms. Sey described the environment at Levi’s over those two years as “Stasi-like”. She was made to answer questions to determine whether she was on “their side” in the culture war which essentially meant swearing an oath to the Democratic party. She was asked to go on apology tours and was asked to denounce things that her husband had said publicly. Meanwhile, Ms. Sey was the only one who had children still at home, while the rest of the employees were already sending their children back to in-person private schools. The company was not happy when Ms. Sey appeared on Fox News’s The Laura Ingraham show to discuss her views, and they made their displeasure known.
Even now, the pushback against Ms. Sey continues in two forms.
- “You might be right, but you can’t say that”
Ms. Sey gets told that while she might have been right, she “can’t” say those things as a corporate executive. To this, Ms. Sey said:
“If I can’t say them, as a well-liked, loyal, high-performing senior executive, why do you think a regular, everyday employee can say them?”
Ms. Sey is speaking on behalf of those who can’t, precisely because she has the platform and the voice to do so.
- “Why are you still mad?”
The second form of pushback is to ask why she still discusses these issues, as though they’re no longer relevant because schools have opened. To this, Ms. Sey has two responses:
- 250,000 American children are missing from the school system since the lockdowns. They’re not homeschooling, they didn’t switch schools or go to private school, they are missing. They have dropped out.
- The same people are still in charge. The people who made the decision to close down schools and then mask the children once they re-open are still in positions of power. Namely, Rachelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, and Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California. Disastrous outcomes occurred at the hands of those three decision-makers, and all three are still in positions of power.
An Earlier Battle
This isn’t the first time Ms. Sey found herself at odds with her peers. In an experience that draws parallels to her current situation with Levi’s, Ms. Sey was a trailblazer for truth within the gymnastics community back in 2008. Ms. Sey wrote a memoir about her time in the world of gymnastics. A truth seeker from early on, Ms. Sey exposed the cruel nature of the sport of gymnastics and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that was prevalent in the sport.
As the first person to release first-hand documentation of the abuse within the Olympics and gymnastic communities, Ms. Sey found herself “canceled” by the communities in which she had grown up. Other members of the Olympics and gymnastic communities called Ms. Sey a liar, a grifter, and threatened her with violence and lawsuits.
Ten years after Ms. Sey first spoke out, the Larry Nassar scandal broke into mainstream news and the abuse that Ms. Sey was vilified for discussing in 2008 was suddenly common knowledge in 2018.
Ms. Sey received no acknowledgment and no apologies for the way she was treated. The community was desperate to simply move on, because they knew, like they know now, that by staying silent they made themselves culpable.
A Closing Message
Similar to the gymnastics scandal, Ms. Sey’s early advocacy for children against lockdowns and masks will be widely recognized and appreciated one day. The community that threw her out for speaking truth to power about their world of gymnastics later embraced her as a hero, once it became socially safe to do so. Although those who vilified Ms. Sey should be hanging their heads in shame and apologizing to her, they instead pretend as though they stood with her all along. Doing otherwise would indicate responsibility, and they can’t face that. While Ms. Sey remembers exactly who said what and when, she graciously accepts them to join the fight against the abuse that still persists.
The same will likely come true with today’s battle. The first round of people to publicly speak up against a socially popular injustice bear the “slings and arrows”. Yet, they’re the true heroes because they pave the way for those who aren’t as brave as themselves to eventually follow suit, which is how progress is made and public perception is shifted.
Watch the full interview:
Check out Jennifer Sey’s book: “Levi’s, Unbuttoned. The Woke Mob Took My Job but Gave Me My Voice”
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
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