Levi's Exec Says Her COVID Views Cost Her a Job

Jennifer Sey spoke out against school lockdowns
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2022 11:44 AM CST
Levi's Exec: I Was Forced Out Over My COVID Views
Jennifer Sey, in a screenshot.   (YouTube)

A former Levi's exec is calling out her longtime employer in an essay, saying she was forced out of her job because of her views about school COVID lockdowns. In the essay on the Substack channel Common Sense, Jennifer Sey writes that she got into hot water with the company after repeatedly voicing her view that such lockdowns do more harm than good to children. Sey worked for Levi's for more than 20 years, eventually becoming brand president. "In the last month, the CEO told me that it was 'untenable' for me to stay," she writes. "I was offered a $1 million severance package, but I knew I'd have to sign a nondisclosure agreement about why I'd been pushed out. ... I just can't do it. Sorry, Levi's." So far, the company hasn't responded to her publicly. More coverage:

  • Outspoken: Sey says she was scolded for speaking out as much as she did about the school lockdowns, though she didn't do so under the Levi's name. But she points out that she previously voiced her support of Elizabeth Warren and her sadness over the Ahmaud Arbury and George Floyd cases without earning a reprimand.
  • Gymnastics background: Sey, 52, is a former competitive gymnast who wrote a book about the abuses of young female gymnasts in 2008. A profile in Women's Wear Daily in 2020 refers to her as an "early whistleblower" on that front.
  • Different view: In that old WWD interview, Sey praised Levi's for allowing her to pursue her advocacy. "There was renewed respect for how I used my voice," she said. "So, I think Levi's is a special culture in that way. It validated that if you use your voice, you can have an impact and create change and I started to apply that more to the workplace in the issues I thought we should take a stand for as a brand." In her new essay, however, she says Levi's has "lost sight of the values that made people everywhere ... want to wear Levi's."
  • Emmy winner: Sey produced a 2020 documentary for Netflix on abuse in gymnastics called Athlete A, and it won an Emmy, notes IndyStar.
(More Levi's stories.)

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