Levi Strauss casts out its coronapanic heretic

An interesting article by a gymnastics champion-turned-Levi-Strauss executive:

My tenure at Levi’s began as an assistant marketing manager in 1999, a few months after my thirtieth birthday. As the years passed, I saw the company through every trend. I was the marketing director for the U.S. by the time skinny jeans had become the rage. I was the chief marketing officer when high-waists came into vogue. I eventually became the global brand president in 2020—the first woman to hold this post. (And somehow low-rise is back.)

Over my two decades at Levi’s, I got married. I had two kids. I got divorced. I had two more kids. I got married again.

We’re told that it is impossible to have children and work at the same time (but ladling out more taxpayer cash will help, especially if extracted from the childless) and yet Jennifer Sey had four children while climbing the Levi’s corporate ladder! (She also had time, presumably, to be a litigant in the California Family Court.)

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

Example hate speech and Science-denial from the op-ed (February 2021):

I find myself stunned and enraged every day since March 13 that my kids, San Francisco public school students, and approximately 50% of students across the country have no in person instruction at all for what amounts to almost a full year. They are going without classroom education, socialization, and, for kids with few resources, necessary social services. Denying kids educational opportunity amounts to denying them a future and it is nothing short of child abuse.

The lack of effort to open schools by leaders, with few notable exceptions – Governor Ron DeSantis [!!!], Governor Gina Raimondo – is a tacit endorsement that closed schools are not only acceptable but preferred, despite the fact that study after study proves that schools can be safe.

Kids went to school in the Warsaw ghetto. Kids went to school in London during the Blitz. Kids went to school during the Spanish flu pandemic. Amidst chaos and destruction, the world signaled to kids how much they mattered, that our very future depended on them. We are doing the exact opposite now. They won’t forgive us.

Looking at the highlighted text above, I think we can begin to see the problem.

The paragraph below contains a date that may be useful to historians.

In the summer of 2020, I finally got the call. “You know when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company,” our head of corporate communications told me, urging me to pipe down. I responded: “My title is not in my Twitter bio. I’m speaking as a public school mom of four kids.”

But the calls kept coming. From legal. From HR. From a board member. And finally, from my boss, the CEO of the company. I explained why I felt so strongly about the issue, citing data on the safety of schools and the harms caused by virtual learning. While they didn’t try to muzzle me outright, I was told repeatedly to “think about what I was saying.”

Meantime, colleagues posted nonstop about the need to oust Trump in the November election. I also shared my support for Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary and my great sadness about the racially instigated murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. No one at the company objected to any of that.

Let’s see what the divorce plaintiff-turned-senator had to say about lockdowns: “Warren: ‘We should be imposing mask mandates’ and vaccine requirements” (state-sponsored WGBH, December 23, 2021. The story includes a photo of the Native American icon protecting herself and others from Omicron with a cloth mask:

The top executives aren’t stupid:

Then, in October 2020, when it was clear public schools were not going to open that fall, I proposed to the company leadership that we weigh in on the topic of school closures in our city, San Francisco. We often take a stand on political issues that impact our employees; we’ve spoken out on gay rights, voting rights, gun safety, and more.

The response this time was different. “We don’t weigh in on hyper-local issues like this,” I was told. “There’s also a lot of potential negatives if we speak up strongly, starting with the numerous execs who have kids in private schools in the city.

I’m not sure that the Levi’s official position on “gun safety” is consistent with the way that the term is used by some of the gun enthusiasts who comment here… Also note that, as in Boston, the best way for white elites to show support for Black Lives Matter was to advocate for the closure of schools for Black children while the private schools attended by their own kids were open.

I met with the mayor’s office, and eventually uprooted my entire life in California—I’d lived there for over 30 years—and moved my family to Denver so that my kindergartner could finally experience real school

Jennifer Sey was ahead of Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children (April 6, 2021)!

National media picked up on our story, and I was asked to go on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News. That appearance was the last straw. The comments from Levi’s employees picked up—about me being anti-science; about me being anti-fat (I’d retweeted a study showing a correlation between obesity and poor health outcomes); about me being anti-trans (I’d tweeted that we shouldn’t ditch Mother’s Day for Birthing People’s Day because it left out adoptive and step moms); and about me being racist, because San Francisco’s public school system was filled with black and brown kids, and, apparently, I didn’t care if they died. They also castigated me for my husband’s Covid views—as if I, as his wife, were responsible for the things he said on social media.

Levi’s agrees with Pol Pot that even the worst offenders can be reformed through re-education and confession:

Meantime, the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the company asked that I do an “apology tour.” I was told that the main complaint against me was that “I was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” I was told to say that “I am an imperfect ally.” (I refused.)

The DEI executive seems to have been correct:

Anonymous trolls on Twitter, some with nearly half a million followers, said people should boycott Levi’s until I’d been fired. So did some of my old gymnastics fans. They called the company ethics hotline and sent emails.

Every day, a dossier of my tweets and all of my online interactions were sent to the CEO by the head of corporate communications. At one meeting of the executive leadership team, the CEO made an off-hand remark that I was “acting like Donald Trump.”

In the last month, the CEO told me that it was “untenable” for me to stay. 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.

Readers of Real World Divorce will be pleased to see that Jennifer Sey celebrates gold diggers:

I never set out to be a contrarian. I don’t like to fight. I love Levi’s and its place in the American heritage as a purveyor of sturdy pants for hardworking, daring people who moved West and dreamed of gold buried in the dirt.

Everyone at Levi’s supports Elizabeth Warren and AOC but they can’t agree on how best to follow these two saints?

But the corporation doesn’t believe in that now. It’s trapped trying to please the mob—and silencing any dissent within the organization. In this it is like so many other American companies: held hostage by intolerant ideologues who do not believe in genuine inclusion or diversity.

Being a Progressive is not a religion, yet people can argue over who has the pure and genuine inclusion and diversity?

At least most of the Progressives at Levi’s seem to be intelligent:

Not one [fellow Levi Strauss employee] publicly said they agreed with me, or even that they didn’t agree with me, but supported my right to say what I believe anyway.

A reader comment on Jennifer Sey’s piece:

As for Levi’s – that company doesn’t even manufacture ONE STITCH of clothing in the US anymore and hasn’t for years. Look for sweatshops in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Indonesia for mfg.

What about the husband whose hateful views on Covid also got the righteous Elizabeth Warren-supporter in trouble? It seems to be Daniel Kotzin, whose Twitter bio says “Stay-at-home dad. Human rights advocate. My freedom protects you; your freedom protects me.” Example hate:

And he’s a vaccine denier!

(For the record, I disagree with Mx. Kotzin regarding “vaccine remorse.” Although I recognize that a Marek’s disease-style vaccine-driven evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is possible, and nobody without a letter from God can say for sure what will be the effect of vaccinating 5-year-olds against a killer of 80-year-olds, I think it is more likely that the COVID-19 vaccines will end up with a similar status as the flu shot. Nobody regrets getting a flu shot, though plenty of people who get a flu shot subsequently get the flu…)

Here’s one where we learn that the family should have moved to Florida instead of Colorado:

(I think there is a lot to love about Colorado, but if you’re passionate about children being free to live without masks, Florida is the only state that I know where it is actually illegal for public schools to order kids to wear masks. (“illegal” meaning against a law passed by the Legislature))

In addition to being a good lesson in the range of speech that can be tolerated in a Progressive company, Jennifer Sey’s story is interesting because of the feeling of betrayal by politicians. She and her husband were presumably both aligned in their passion for Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and they were repaid with the (abhorrent to them) imposition of school closures and mask orders for children.

Unlike the hate-suffused Trump-tainted “schools should be open” idea, a political cause that is sufficiently uncontroversial for Levi’s to support:


27 thoughts on “Levi Strauss casts out its coronapanic heretic

  1. “Over my two decades at Levi’s …”
    Levi’s stopped making jeans in the USA and moved manufacturing entirely to sweatshops
    Levi’s lost it edge and follows trends of newcomers into ranch pants business
    Levi’s turned on American liberties, Bill of Rights and started to finance anti -2nd Amendment corporate trolls…
    I am sure that refuges from tyranny jeans inventor Jacob W. Davis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_W._Davis and Levi’s founder Levi Strauss https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Strauss are rolling in their graves . I am avoiding Levi’s stores and do not care what pictures are they are coming up with

  2. This is a great story of a top-down corporate purge. Corporations have realized that they can utilize communist control tactics in a “free” market society, only using wokism instead of communism. This 5 min excerpt from a 1949 anti-communist propaganda movie could be directly from a corporate meeting. A party member and writer is purged for deviating from the party line (especially relevant the divide and conquer tactics around 48:30):

  3. This reads like something from InfoWars! All this time you’re thinking: “Alex Jones is a whack-job right wing conspiracist who is totally out of his mind! An unhinged White Supremacist Crackhead Monster!” but there it is at Levi Strauss (and everywhere else really.)

    I knew it all started to go downhill for Levis when they decided to try and beat high-fashion brand jeans like Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt and especially Calvin Klein (between which Brooke Shields and Nothing came.)

    Pretty soon Substack will go, too. You can’t have informed people objecting to corporgovernment jibberjabber in a free country!

  4. She comes across a a naïve woman mugged by reality. America would be a better place if the phony squaw were president? Kind of like Joe Rogan who thinks America would be a better place if it were run by the elderly communist, Bernie Sanders. You have to wonder how these people figure these things out — though of course they don’t. Probably they think it is just kind of cool to support an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders. As an aside, the schools in the Warsaw ghetto she refers to were privately run by the Jews — not the Polish government so the point is irrelevant to her argument, which is presumably about public schools.

    • Jack: I didn’t realize that Joe Rogan was a Bernie supporter. If so, I agree with him! If Bernie were in the White House right now laying out his comprehensive agenda, Congress would be forced to affirmatively answer the question “What should the U.S. government do?” (instead of the current system where they muddle along funding stuff because it was funded in previous years)

      I can respect that you don’t love Bernie. But how would Bernie in the White House be worse than Joe Biden?

  5. It’s always funny to see how ultra-lefties cancel their own. In fact, I think it’s more likely to be canceled if you are leftie.

    I was in Denver today. It was very confusing: although businesses advertise mask requirements, patrons do not wear them.

    • SK: I was there at the end of January and the security guards at the art museum were hassling visitors to put (cloth, of course) masks up over noses, etc. If you want to feel safe, but don’t want to stay home, go to the art museum!

    • I was just in Vail and Beaver Creek. 98% no masks. However, one store in Beaver Creek was being a mask strict and had a guard checking and handing out masks. The next store over had a big sign “NO MASKS REQUIRED”.

      In Mid-Vail cafeteria there was one employee running around yelling at people to put on masks while they were walking in or ordering food. Most just shrugged their shoulders and ignored him.

    • “We believe you should never have to work out to fit in. ”

      For athleisure clothes. The jokes write themselves.

      But seriously,should I keep buying their guitar straps? Because I really like their guitar straps. Should my religious views (not woke, must mean I’m asleep) influence my purchase?

    • Sam, I do not advocate anything, I just don’t like when my hard earned money go to totalitarian and other destructive causes this cynical corp gang supports momentarily. If they have money for that then their customers are definitely overpaying. Do not like to be a sucker. If they paid me I would stop and think. This screw America hedge fund masquerading as historic American clothing business sure offered Jennifer Sey less then they are spending on their screw America goals. Sure they are getting favors back in for that.

    • Sam: I have been wondering the same thing. But if only one side engages in boycotts and purges, it will win. While I’ll probably still buy Levis if they happen to fit best in the store, I avoid Google as much as possible and do not use Facebook or Twitter at all.

      I think 50% of the American population should boycott these companies. Google Search and YouTube are hard to avoid, but GMail, Facebook and Twitter are easy to drop. I do not understand how conservatives can entrust their private conversations to GMail and Twitter DM. This is completely beyond me. They have your whole life on record.

    • Anon: You raise a good point about Gmail. Google could do the world a big service by publishing a virtue score for each Gmail user based on the percentage of misinformation contained in his/her/zir/their email. A Virtometer! Scale could be -100 to 100 where someone would score 100 by emailing friends regarding plans to attend a BLM mostly peaceful protect, encouraging correspondents to get vaccinated and boosted, expressing support for open borders and public housing provision to low-skill migrants, taking a climate pledge, etc.

      I mentioned separately here a person who identifies as a “woman” who got banned from LinkedIn for expressing skepticism regarding cloth masks and vaccines preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. She appealed the ban and they said “after reviewing your private messages we’ve decided to make it permanent.”

      If people knew that what they considered to be their private emails and messages would be rated then they would improve as human beings.

    • Anon and philg-

      I briefly considered running a Hillary-style email server from my house to escape data mining my personal information from my Yahoo-based email account, but that wouldn’t really do any good as long as most people I’m emailing have Gmail accounts anyway. There’s not enough general public demand for private email.

  6. By some estimates the vaccines already killed more people than COVID-19 (counting only deaths from COVID, not from comorbidities).

    And the long-term adverse effects of the vaccines are still a big unknown.

    There’s a lot of micro-clotting and inflammation caused by the vaccines which doesn’t show any clinically significant signs now, but may lead to all kinds of chronic nastiness later on (about 60% vaccinated people have been observed to have elevated D-dimers according to one clinical report). And there’s also that little known propensity of S-protein to cause cell fusion, which suggest links to cancer. Also, having healthy cells to express viral protein is a big unknown as far as longer-term immune system effects go (i.e. it may cause autoimmunity).

    Remorse is coming. Of my friends one had (and still has) issues with inner ear and balance post-vaccination (before he had been quite healthy and fit – a national-level athlete), one got major aggravation of pre-existing propensity to trombosis (she had to have a surgery because of it). And a family of friends lost her 32-old daughter after she did a booster. This is just an anecdotal observation, but my SF Bay Area friends (most are vaccinated due to pressure by employers and local governments) look less healthy than my TX friends (mostly vaccine “deniers”). I know of no one from my circle who had anything worse than bad flu from the actual COVID.

    • You don’t know me, but I will tell you that COVID can mess you up.
      Brain fog is essentially dementia (like having a semi-permanent concussion) and the fatigue is more the feeling that you’re going to die than it is feeling tired.
      There’s no symptom the vaccine can give you that COVID itself cannot.
      Millions of people are either out of the workforce or severely impaired.

    • I do not know SuperMike… Recalling times working for a government contractor during Obama years, being disadvantaged became a requirement for a full-time position with government itself and many contractors who wanted life-time sinecures applied for disability just to get an interview… Everyone I know are doing OK post-covid and had at least some side effects from the vaccines, sometimes severe. I myself got side effects after a single shot of vaccine and now post-covid returning regaining physical shape, almost matching what I could do 20+ years ago, only hindered by pain from “vaccine” side effect. Of course my evidence is anecdotal but I do not know anyone with long covid, including those who got sick pre-“vaccine”. Hard to believe for me in millions with “long covid”
      Wish you recover soon.

    • SuperMike – you assume that vaccines would’ve helped. As a matter of fact, rates of hospitalization show little correlation with rates of vaccination (long term averages, not the cherry-picked weeks or months paraded in media). Basically, if your “protection” fades in a few months – which by now is not even disputed by pharmas, CDC, et al, all the vaccine is doing is delaying the infection. And adverse effects get more likely with every dose.

      Actually, you are wrong about “no symptom the vaccine can give you that COVID itself cannot” – vaccines by necessity must produce significantly more S-proteins to elicit robust immune response (this is due to the fact that vaccines – Western ones – do not use whole virus). The way the innate immune system triggers learning by adaptive immune system is by recognizing common motifs in viral/bacterial fragments or by recognizing signs of abnormal cellular damage (see “toll-like receptors”) makes it response to infection-equivalent concentration of S-proteins rather anemic.

      Plus, in actual infections the S-proteins are attached to the viral envelopes which limits their toxicity. Vaccination produces free-floating S-proteins.

      I wish the medical establishment actually focused on finding proper treatments instead of being fixated on the vaccines. But that’d kill the pharma/hospitals cash cow, wouldn’t it?

      And, sorry, quoting Washington Pravda as a source is, ahem… that rag was a Democrat propaganda outlet for decades. Pharmas are the primary corporate donors to Democrat Party. I trust my own eyes way more than I trust any newspaper (or academic paper, for that matter). Good old Soviet habit which Americans would be well advised to learn to stay sane.

    • SuperMike: You are officially my only “long COVID” connection, though we haven’t met in person. Sadly, it seems that the most optimistic case for the vaccines (and we also have to consider the pessimistic case as kindly provided to us by averros!) is that they reduce the chance of long COVID by between 0 and 50 percent. See https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03495-2 (November 23, 2021, when vaccine enthusiasm was higher): “But for those who do experience a breakthrough infection, studies suggest that vaccination might only halve the risk of long COVID — or have no effect on it at all”

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukhsa-review-shows-vaccinated-less-likely-to-have-long-covid-than-unvaccinated (2/15/2022) says “people with COVID-19 who received 2 doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Janssen vaccine, were about half as likely as people who received one dose or were unvaccinated to develop long COVID symptoms lasting more than 28 days”

      As noted elsewhere on this blog, you also have to consider the behavior changes engendered by telling the Followers of Science that the vaccines make them invulnerable (97X less likely to suffer from COVID-19!). The folks who were previously in bunkers are now hosting sleepovers. cramming into theme park lines, traveling on parked airliners to attend weddings in New Orleans, etc. Their risk of long COVID is surely higher than it was before they got vaccinated.

  7. Speaking of the vaccine, about 4 days after getting the booster (this time with novavax , previous shots were with BioNTech ) , I got nose bleeds that were progressively more difficult to control. After 4 days I went to ENT to have the blood vessels cauterised. Then I got dizziness from my ear. No explanation from the doctors but I think maybe it was an acute hypertension, but who knows, maybe just all coincidence. But I will postpone the 4th booster after that experience , hopefully we are back to normal by summer.

    • German: I’m sorry that you won’t be Following the Science by getting your 4th booster, but I hope that the required-by-law and required-by-Science 5th booster doesn’t have these nasty side effects for you!

    • Is not a booster just an Nth vaccine dose ? If so why, people call it “booster ?

      My interest is purely theoretical as I am not going to experiment on myself.

    • Ivan: Because the original Science said that one would be 100% safe after two doses of the experimental “vaccine”. “Booster” is a marketing term that implies that Science is still correct, but you will be even more safe.

    • @Anonymous – yep, you nailed it. The very first tip-off that you’re being lied to is the use of suggestive language characteristic of propaganda. People who tell the truth don’t need to varnish it. Neither the truth changes back and forth like Fauci’s “science”.

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