Jennifer Sey, the president of the Levi’s brand, stated on Monday that she was fired due of her vocal criticism of COVID-19 school restrictions and mask demands.
Sey, 52, made the charges in Bari Weiss’ Substack channel Common Sense, saying that she rejected down a $1 million severance payout from the corporation because she refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
“It would be extremely lovely if you could give me some money. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to accomplish it. Please accept my apologies, Levi’s “In an article published on the site, Sey said.
School closures and mask demands have become divisive topics, and Sey said Levi’s didn’t want her to speak out against them. She did, however, consistently voice her opinions in op-eds and on television shows, as well as organizing demonstrations and posting on social media, according to her own admission.
More than 20 years ago I joined Levi’s. Yesterday I resigned my post as president so that I can use my voice. https://t.co/7UG6TCXqHU— Jennifer Sey (@JenniferSey) February 14, 2022
Sey, a mother of four, explained in the post that she had long been an advocate for children and that Levi’s had always supported her when she expressed other political views in the past, but that all changed when she refused to stop speaking out against California closing public schools in the name of safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview after her tweet, Sey said, “I’ve been a Democrat my whole voting life.” “I believe the party has betrayed its beliefs, and I am now politically adrift.”
“Free speech and children are not ‘right wing’ problems, and standing up for these things, or even being ‘right wing’ for that matter, should not be deemed beyond the pale,” she added, adding, “and it definitely shouldn’t render one unemployed.”
Sey and her family relocated from San Francisco to Colorado in order to bring her children back to school, and she continued to speak out against the closures in the media. Her appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” to share her political beliefs “was the last straw” for Levi’s, she claims.
After that, despite being a longstanding proponent of racial fairness and the mother of two Black children, Sey claims she was accused of being racist. She declined to go on a “apology tour” offered by Levi’s head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Bergh informed Sey last autumn that she was pregnant “He claimed that “the only thing standing in my way, he said, was me,” and that “the only thing standing in my way, he added, was me.” All I had to do was stop mentioning the school situation.”
“Suppressing expression and disagreement is unacceptable,” Sey told Times Read. “This isn’t just a Levi’s problem; it’s a larger societal one. We appear to have lost the capacity to communicate, differ, discuss, and still respect one another.”
Sey stated, when asked how she thinks Levi’s should have handled the incident, “I feel it was possible to support my speaking out without necessarily agreeing with all I had to say. As a result, establish a culture that is really inclusive, where everyone feels free to speak out and participate without holding back parts of themselves.”
In response to her post, the Levi’s veteran says she’s received feedback from both inside and outside the company, including “those who have left and those in other companies who feel afraid to speak up about issues they care about,” who “believe there is one right answer and that anything that goes against the current orthodoxy – on COVID or other issues – would be considered an HR violation.” Sey said she is not planning legal action against Levi’s at this time.
In response to a request from FOX Business for comment on Sey’s accusations, the business issued the following statement: “Levi Strauss & Co. announced today that our executive leadership team will be changing. Seth Ellison, EVP & Chief Commercial Officer, will serve as temporary Levi’s® brand president in addition to his commercial responsibilities, succeeding Jen Sey, who resigned from the business.”
“LS&Co. has launched a search for a new Levi’s® brand president, an opportunity to manage one of the world’s most well-known and recognised consumer brands,” the statement said.
Sey was a well-known gymnast before joining the organisation, having won the U.S. Women’s All-Around national championship in 1986. She also co-produced Athlete A, a documentary on claims that Dr. Larry Nassar sexually molested young female gymnasts, which was released in 2020.
“I’d always adored Levi’s and had worn them for as long as I could remember. But if you’d told me back then that I’d one day become the brand’s president, I would have laughed at you “she penned “I’d think you were insane if you told me that after achieving all of that, after spending practically my entire career at one business, I’d resign.”
After starting as an assistant marketing manager in 1999, Sey worked her way up at Levi Strauss & Co. “Until lately, the company has been the most consistent thing in my life,” she remarked.
Things changed once COVID was released, she wrote. Sey, a mother of four, questioned the potential harm to children if schools were closed. She said that business personnel sought to quiet her soon after.
“You know when you talk, you speak on behalf of the firm,” added Sey, claiming Levi’s head of corporate communications was the first to approach her.
Other Levi’s workers, including representatives from the legal department and human resources, tried to persuade her to cease making public comments, she said.
Eventually, she alleged, the company’s CEO attempted to intervene, carefully warning her at first and then offering more forthright advice. (Though Charles “Chip” Bergh is not mentioned in Sey’s Common Sense post, he has been president and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. since 2011.)
When Sey appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, she received even more attention. For coworkers who disagreed with Sey’s stance on school problems, it was “the final straw.”
She said she was informed she was “on track” to replace him as CEO over a meal with the CEO in the fall of 2021. However “He said that I was the only thing in my way. I only had to stop talking about school.”
According to Sey, things to a head last month when the CEO informed her that staying would be “untenable” and gave her a $1 million severance payment. She said that the transaction would have included “a nondisclosure clause detailing why I was forced out.”