Now-former Levi brand president Jennifer Sey published an op-ed full of absolute fire on Monday over on Bari Weiss' substack, detailing her journey with Levi's jeans and how toxic the environment became as the company went woke over the last decade.
When I say it's an absolute read, I mean it's an absolute read, but since the article approaches nearly 2,000 words, Imma summarize it for you fine folks so you can learn why you should never buy another pair of Levi's (and probably evaluate every company you used to trust).
Jennifer says she first came to realize the American ruggedness and individualism represented by Levi's when she went to compete as a gymnast in Moscow in 1986, but that the brand no longer represents that.
...After all these years, the company I love has lost sight of the values that made people everywhere—including those gymnasts in the former Soviet Union—want to wear Levi's.
The problem started after she was hired by the company in 1999. At first, she was admired and supported by the company, even when she spoke out against some of the abuse she had seen during her years as a gymnast.
In 2008, when I was a vice president of marketing, I published a memoir about my time as an elite gymnast that focused on the dark side of the sport, specifically the degradation of children. The gymnastics community threatened me with legal action and violence. Former competitors, teammates, and coaches dismissed my story as that of a bitter loser just trying to make a buck. They called me a grifter and a liar. But Levi's stood by me. More than that: they embraced me as a hero.
That was then.
Now, we live in a world where a very bad Orange Man nearly destroyed the planet, millions of unarmed black men are being slaughtered in the streets by white supremacists, and the most dangerous virus ever known to man has made it imperative to suspend human rights and the rule of law.
The only way forward is to embrace the new religion, comrade!
Things changed when Covid hit. Early on in the pandemic, I publicly questioned whether schools had to be shut down. This didn't seem at all controversial to me. I felt—and still do—that the draconian policies would cause the most harm to those least at risk, and the burden would fall heaviest on disadvantaged kids in public schools, who need the safety and routine of school the most.
She was called a racist, a QAnon supporter, and a whole host of things. The CEO of the company and the HR department asked her to stop making public statements, even in her private capacity as a citizen.
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.
In case you were wondering how the corporate execs at your favorite company vote, there ya go.
Sey got upset when local San Francisco schools refused to open in fall 2020, and asked company leadership if they could make a social statement – just like they've done on racial, sexual, and other woke issues.
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."
Hey, fancy that. They only make statements about the #Oppressed when they are deemed to be favored by the elite. Huh.
Eventually, she decided to do an interview on Fox News, which turned all the wokeity wokes in the company against her.
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.
I want to stop here.
If you are wearing Levi's right now, you are wearing the banner of a company that likely hates you, and will use the money you give them to purposefully try to destroy you and everything you believe (while they pay kids in developing countries a penny here and there to make their clothes).
Mount Doom those jeans.
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.)
When you think of the head of the DEI departments at these companies, think "Dolores Umbridge."
As representatives of the neo-communist Ministry of Truth, these people are probably the most toxic thing a business could ever invest in outside of openly setting their buildings and inventory on fire.
Sey says she was on track to become the next CEO of the company, as its stock doubled under her hard work and experienced watch.
But experience, merit, skill, and making money no longer matter to the woke.
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." I felt embarrassed, and turned my camera off to collect myself.
The company apparently just offered her a $1-million severance package, which she refused so she could slam them for becoming the vile trash heap they now are.
The money would be very nice. But I just can't do it. Sorry, Levi's.
You can bet she's gonna be loud now!
It's ironic that the Russian athletes were once jealous of Sey's Levi's and the freedom for which they stood.
The Levi's of today – with others like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Adidas – are the exact opposite of that symbol today.
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇