A longtime Levi Strauss & Co. executive is revealing how she was allegedly pushed out of her high-profile role after speaking out against the COVID-19 school closures on Fox Nation’s “Tucker Carlson Today.”
Jennifer Sey, who spent nearly 23 years at Levi Strauss & Co. and described herself as a “lifelong liberal,” said she took her stance against school closure “in defense of children, which should have been a progressive value,” but soon realized it was not a welcome idea at the company.
“I kept my advocacy to schools because I knew all that other stuff was controversial, but I thought we could agree on kids,” Sey told Tucker Carlson. Her work included being vocal on social media, leading rallies and writing op-eds with data to back her point.
Advocates for keeping schools open during the pandemic were deemed racists and accused of wanting to “murder teachers,” Sey explained. Soon people were emailing the CEO and head of human resources and calling for boycotts of the company.
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“The feedback was when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company and I said, but I don’t,” the former executive said as she recalled being told multiple times to cool it. “I’m just a mom. I mean, I know I have this big job, but I am not saying it as the Levi’s brand president. I am saying it as a public school mom in San Francisco.”
A critical turning point occurred after Sey moved her family to Denver and appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” to discuss opening America’s schools. While the company said there was nothing wrong with her commentary, Sey said she was also told she should not have spoken out on Fox News.
“In the fall of that year, I was told I could be the CEO if I just cool it in my advocacy,” the former brand president told “Tucker Carlson Today.” “Schools at this point had been open for a hot second, two weeks … They needed to do a background check, not just on me, but on my husband.”
Prior to the background check, the former executive told the company they would think her social media was a “gray area” and her inclinations were right. Due to her position being the “succession role,” she was not able to keep her job if she was not eligible for the next.
After being told there would be severance, she resigned publicly. While she never received her requested severance package, she believes it would have come with a non-disclosure agreement, despite company denial.
“I wanted to be able to talk about the terms of the separation because I wanted to be able to tell you the story… In addition to the children being harmed, this idea that we can’t hold different views and work together, like the idea that I couldn’t have this view and work in this company is so disturbing to me that I did not want to sign my right away to talk about that,” Sey argued. “I wouldn’t do it.”
Research from the Department of Education shows that math and reading scores declined more during the pandemic than they have in decades, according to a previous Fox News report. Tony Kinnett, the executive director of the heterodox education publication Chalkboard Review, told Fox News Digital that some children are coming back to school “several grade levels behind.”
Sey suggests reasonable conversations about school closures may have prevented their devastating effect on children.
The U.S. Department of Education building in Washington, D.C. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
“I want it to be ok for us to talk to each other, to debate ideas,” Sey implored. “I really, in my heart of hearts, believe if we could have had a public conversation about the schools where people like me, invested parents, doctors… instead of us being vilified, we could have had a reasoned conservation, I think we would have gotten to the right answer much sooner.”
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Fox News’ Yael Halon and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.