Others use woke washing as a way to make their brand look good without doing anything concrete.

Woke washing is defined as:

The act of using social justice themes in marketing campaigns to create a positive image for a company without taking any meaningful action. This practice has become increasingly popular as companies try to capitalize on the growing trends of purpose-driven consumerism. While some companies may genuinely support social justice causes, others use woke washing as a way to make their brand look good without doing anything concrete.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, she gained attention on Twitter and in the media as a critic of K-12 school closure…Since leaving Levi’s, Sey has been a contributing author to the Brownstone Institute, a think tank that opposes various measures against COVID-19, including masking and vaccine mandates

With this is mind, let’s meet Ms. Jennifer Sey. According to her Wikipedia page:

Jennifer Anne Sey (born 1969) is an American author, business executive, and retired artistic gymnast… Following her gymnastics career, Sey entered the business world. She developed a social media following due to her views around school closings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wikipedia has this to say about her COVID views:

In February 2022, Sey resigned from Levi’s after nearly 23 years at the company, over disputes with management. Sey claims the resignation was in regard to her views on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, she gained attention on Twitter and in the media as a critic of K-12 school closure.

Ms. Sey wrote a book describing her transition from Levi’s executive to Twitter virologist titled Levi’s Unbuttoned: The Woke Mob Took My Job but Gave Me My Voice. According to the Amazon description, Ms. Sey “had led the company’s initiatives on gay rights, women’s reproductive rights, or gun control.” Yet:

When she refused to blindly follow the narrative on the government response to COVID-19, her previously loyal “woke” community turned on her. 

This feeling of betrayal and abandonment from her liberal community is a frequent theme of Ms. Sey’s and a part of her origin story. One way she builds credibility is to portray herself as someone who stayed true to liberal values, in contrast to those who tried to slow the virus. One typical interview contains this exchange:

Q: You were a Democrat for 30 years. You now say you’re politically homeless. How does that feel, and how do you respond to those who say that you must be a Republican now because you’re not a Democrat?

A: I think the Democratic Party has severely underestimated how many people like me there are: lifelong Democrats who watched as their basic rights just to move freely and send their kids to school were taken away for over a year, which seems to me the most undemocratic thing I can fathom. I didn’t register as a Republican. I have issues with both sides. The idea that if you talk to someone then you automatically hold all of their beliefs is ludicrous. And that kind of defines this moment for me.

Q: What do you think people most get wrong about you?

A: That I’ve somehow been red-pilled and now I’m this alt-right, QAnon conspiracy theorist. I very logically challenged and questioned policies that have now been proven to be incredibly harmful. I stayed true to what I thought the Democratic Party stood for. I don’t think I’ve changed.

Yet, Ms. Sey’s Wikipedia page also says this:

Since leaving Levi’s, Sey has been a contributing author to the Brownstone Institute, a think tank that opposes various measures against COVID-19, including masking and vaccine mandates, and has written columns for the New York Post about the “woke mob” and cancel culture. In February 2023, Sey compared COVID-19 health precautions to sexual abuse.

The Joyful Warriors of Moms for Liberty

Indeed, Ms. Sey is friendly with Mr. Jeffrey Tucker, the founder of the anti-vaccine misinformation group the Brownstone Institute and sponsor of the Great Barrington Declaration, which promised that herd immunity would arrive in 3-6 months if 250 million unvaccinated Americans contracted COVID simultaneously in the fall of 2020. Beyond promoting the mass infection of unvaccinated youth with a virus that killed thousands of them, Mr. Tucker has also encouraged children to smoke and is an unapologetic advocate for child labor, as detailed in his essay Let the Kids Work.

Ms. Sey appears to be totally fine with all of this.

In an article titled Leaked Brownstone Institute Emails Reveal Support for Child Labor, Underage Smoking Walker Bragman reported:

What the emails do show, however, is Brownstone founder Jeffrey Tucker and several Brownstone contributors, including one of the institute’s 2023 fellows, discussing the merits of “the good old days” when children smoked tobacco and performed labor. The group lamented how young people today don’t share their values and are allegedly coddled and entitled. 

In the course of the conversation, Tucker admitted to supporting “youth” cigarette smoking and labor. At one point, he confessed that he had even provided his high schooler son with cigarettes to get him away from marijuana. Later in the conversation, Tucker wrote that he would “fully [repeal] the 1936 ‘child labor’ law,” because “it is cruel and robs kids of a good life.”

“I got around the law with a job at 12 (tuning church organs),” he wrote. “But these days, it is much more difficult. We condemn the kids to a life of desk sitting, only allowing them remunerative work at the age of 16 just when they have packed their schedules full of other useless stuff. So you have people entering the workforce at the age of 24 never having been in a job. They immediately sue their employers for discrimination or whatever”…

Meanwhile, self-described “open schools mom”Jennifer Sey, a former top Levi Strauss executive who parted ways with the company over disagreements about her online advocacy against school closures and mask mandates, which she argued were causing undue harm to children, complimented Tucker’s pro-child labor article. 

“Jeffrey—I like that you mention gymnastics as evidence of young people liking danger. It’s true!” Sey wrote. “Sadly not so much anymore. They want safe spaces. Disagreement is violence. I wish I hadn’t broken so many bones and landed on my head so many times but at least I’m not a wimp. I can endure physical and psychic pain stoically.”

“Ah the good old days,” she quipped. “Next I’ll be shouting ‘get off my lawn!’”

Ms. Sey’s contributions to the Brownstone Institute include articles such as The Joyful Warriors of Moms for Liberty, which glorifies the book-banning hate group that targets LGBTQ people and people of color. Today, Ms. Sey counts proponent of the Great Replacement theory Tucker Carlson as a friend and is the founder a clothing line, XX-XY Athletics, which is dedicated to opposing transgender athletes.

All this from a woman who claims she “stayed true to what I thought the Democratic Party stood for”.

Marginalized groups- LGBTI+ people, sex workers, drug users & homeless were disproportionately impacted by Covid regulations

Hopefully it will not be controversial to say that whatever noble actions Ms. Sey may have taken in the past, she is hardly a paragon of progressive thought today. Indeed, she made a video titled Wokeism Is a Costume Elites Wear to Pretend They Care About Social Justice. Yet, under very specific circumstances during the pandemic, Ms. Sey, who is an elite, was eager to cosplay as a woke social justice warrior. Version 1 of Ms. Sey railed against the woke mob on Tucker Carlson, while her alter ego, Version 2, performatively lamented the pandemic’s effects on marginalized groups- though only when it came to mitigation measures, never the virus.

Version 2 of Ms. Sey claimed to be very concerned about discrimination against Black and Latino children- only when it came to COVID vaccines.

Version 2 of Ms. Sey claimed to be very concerned about teen suicide- only when she could use it to spread fake statistics about pediatric COVID or spread misinformation that suicides were a direct effect of remote learning.

Misinformation alert: The pediatric death rate was not 1 in a million.

“There was no clear guidance. It was just, ‘Trust us, send the kids back, and it’ll be okay.’”

Though I’ve not seen Ms. Sey amplify these voices, it’s worth reading articles such as Why Black Parents Aren’t Joining the Push to Reopen Schools and Some Families of Color Remain Wary of Returning to Classrooms as New School Year Begins to learn what Black or Latino parents actually had to say in. It turns out that vaccine mandates were Ms. Sey’s chief concern, not theirs. One of these articles reported:

“At the same time that people were talking about reopening, we were seeing [COVID-19] case numbers go up astronomically,” she recalled. “There was no clear guidance. It was just, ‘Trust us, send the kids back, and it’ll be okay.’” When Anderson queried other Black families to see how they were feeling, she discovered she was not alone.

Research bears this out. According to one article:

Research showed that about two-thirds of Black, Hispanic and Asian parents nationally needed masking, teacher vaccinations, regular testing and most of all classroom ventilation to feel their youngest school-age child would be safe learning in person. White parents were much less worried, with just 32 percent needing masking requirements and 35 percent citing testing.

Another article from May 2021 titled What’s Behind The Racial Divide On School Reopening? reported:

According to the mid-February wave of the University of Southern California’s Understanding America survey, nearly 60 percent of both Black and Hispanic parents said they preferred for their children to continue learning remotely, compared to fewer than 30 percent of white parents. In New YorkChicago, and Washington, D.C., white families have opted into in-person education at much higher rates than their Black counterparts when schools partially reopened.

Though they didn’t learn it from Ms. Sey, these parents were well aware that the virus impacted their communities first and hardest. They were wise enough not to blindly trust privileged voices from outside their community who insisted their children had no risk and should return to school with zero protections.

Read about Sklyar here

Covid Death Rate Among Black Children Nearly Three Times Higher Than White Kids

To be clear, Ms. Sey was not wrong that the pandemic, like pretty much everything else, disproportionately affected marginalized groups. However, was the founder of XX-XY Athletics really distraught that COVID mitigation measures greatly impacted LGBTI+ people?

I may have missed it, but since COVID arrived, I’ve not seen her champion LGBTI+ people, sex workers, drug users & homeless people apart from her objections to mitigation measures. I never saw her propose that these marginalized groups receive extra assistance and resources during the pandemic.

Ms. Sey’s grave worry about teen suicide was entirely limited to when schools had remote learning. She Tweeted about suicide 21 times in 2021. Schools are now open, and she hasn’t Tweeted about suicide once in 2024. She certainly never shared articles titled Teen Suicide Plummeted During Covid-19 School Closures, New Study Finds.

I never saw her lament when schools closed due to overwhelming COVID outbreaks. Though she had plenty of opportunities, I never saw her share stories like this one from Texas in 9/2021- At Least 45 Districts Shut Down In-Person Classes Due To Covid-19 Cases. It said:

Caseloads have left districts scrambling when many have said they have fewer tools at their disposal to combat the spread of the virus.

Despite her concern over Black children, she never shared articles such as Covid Death Rate Among Black Children Nearly Three Times Higher Than White Kids. I never saw her mourn the loss of a Black or Latino child who died of COVID. In fact, she repeatedly minimized pediatric COVID, even after it was clear children of color suffered the most. The headline below and her Tweet, minimizing literal death for children, were just two weeks apart.

Ms. Sey’s minimization of literal death from COVID was part of a pattern that started even before anyone was vaccinated. The fact that mitigation measures successfully protected children in 2020 was used as “evidence” they were not needed at all. In contrast to literal death, Ms. Sey, who claimed she had “nothing against vaccines”, predictably was on high alert to scold anyone whom she felt minimized a rare, usually mild vaccine-side effect.

We should take a moment to thank essential workers who actually got Covid & contributed to herd immunity

So why was Ms. Sey very concerned about social justice issues only when it came to COVID mitigations, and why was her solution only to remove those mitigations?

Obviously, genuine concern is consistent concern.

Indeed, Ms. Sey was genuinely concerned about mitigation measures, and so Versions 1 and 2 of Ms. Sey consistently agreed on just one thing- mitigation measures needed to go. In contrast, only Version 2 of cared about marginalized groups, and even then the concern was in regards to how they might be affected by vaccine mandates, as if this was the biggest threat they faced. Indeed, notice how differently Ms. Sey discussed literal death from COVID compared to how she discussed the potential harms of vaccine mandates.

Obviously, this highly-selective “concern” had everything to do with Ms. Sey’s disdain for COVID mitigations and nothing to do with any sincere concern for marginalized groups. Basically, Ms. Sey woke-washed the pandemic. Like a corporation putting up a rainbow flag, she was trying to make her “brand look good without doing anything concrete”.

She was hardly unique in this regards. Like Ms. Sey, many pro-infection doctors similarly code-switched between two identifies. Version 1 went on Fox News to advocate for herd immunity through mass infection. After this failed miserably, Version 2 emerged, to retroactively claim the sole motivation for removing mitigations was a benevolent concern for “learning loss for children, especially in poor families” and the “essential working class“. If you have not done so already, please read my articles The Failed “We Want Them Infected” Movement Is Trying to Rebrand Itself As The “All We Really Wanted Was Poor Kids in School” Movement and Dr. Jerome Adams Was Right. They Wanted Them Infected. That’s a Fact. Like Ms. Sey, these doctors’ “concern” about marginalized groups and teen suicide existed only in relation to their opposition to COVID mitigations. To this day, they frequently lament remote schooling that ended years ago, but are utterly silent about more recent headlines that read Third Teen Worker Killed In Industrial Accident As States Try To Loosen Child Labor Laws.

Of course, it’s not clear who deputized Ms. Sey to be the voice of marginalized groups when it came to COVID policy. I never saw any Black or Latino people claim to speak on behalf of wealthy, White business executives like her. However, many highly-privileged people, sheltered from the consequences of their words, felt perfectly entitled to speak on behalf of Black and Latino parents, even as they contradicted the policy preferences of a majority of them. These people of privilege simply anointed themselves as spokespeople for marginalized groups to further their goal of herd immunity through mass infection. They then disregarded the impact of the virus in those marginalized groups. They valiantly defended Black and Latino children against vaccine mandates, while simultaneously blowing off the virus, the thing that killed and sickened many of them. This did not go unnoticed.

While such concern over marginalized groups was disingenuous virtue signalling, it nonetheless served a broader purpose. By co-opting progressive issues and rhetoric, people like Ms. Sey sought to give a permission structure for those who wanted to think of themselves as liberal to resist mitigation measures. In fact, Ms. Sey told them it was their obligation to do so. Though the goal was to let the virus rip for the sake of herd immunity, the framing was one of social justice. Publicly feigning concern over marginalized groups was also a way of calling progressives hypocrites for rejecting the philosophy of mass infection. By claiming to truly represent liberal values, Ms. Sey became a valuable ambassador for the We Want Them Infected movement who said in essence:

If you were really concerned about marginalized groups, you’d opposed COVID mitigations. If you were really concerned about Black and Latino people in public spaces, you’d oppose vaccine mandates. If you were really concerned about teen suicide, you’d open schools months before any children were vaccinated. If you really were progressive, you’d want them infected.

Jennifer Sey Keeps Getting Canceled for Speaking Up

Although anti-public health outfits now celebrate Ms. Sey with nonsense articles titled Jennifer Sey Keeps Getting Canceled for Speaking Up, the truth is that like many “silenced” voices, Ms. Sey became a mini-celebrity during the pandemic. She has been discussed on NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, The NY Post, and The NY Times, even though all she really did was quit her job. Sadly, in many circles she’s more famous than people who actual accomplished things during the pandemic, like Katalin Karikó. It’s clear however, that Ms. Sey knows how to attract an audience, and even those of us who wanted to vaccinate children instead of infect them can’t deny that she’s been very effective at getting her message out. The mitigation measures she opposed are long gone. She got everything she wanted- except for herd immunity, of course.

Today, however, instead of taking a victory lap, Ms. Sey wants everyone to know she’s a victim because words hurt her feelings. She describes herself thusly:

I couldn’t remain silent when the lockdowns were cruelly imposed on children during covid. And for the crime of saying I believe public school kids deserve to be able to go to school during the pandemic, like the kids in private schools, I was dragged, demonized and smeared.

Ms. Sey is also soliciting donations to fund a film she is making about school closures during the pandemic. And yet, as child labor laws loosen around the country, this self-proclaimed regular mom who boasts of “advocating for open public schools, disproportionately attended by low income, black and brown students“, is happy to team up with a wealthy libertarian who specifically calls for kids to dropout of public schools so they can smoke cigarettes during their break from working at Walmart and Chick-fil-A.

Make of that what you will.



  • Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19. He is the author of "We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID."

Posted by Jonathan Howard

Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19. He is the author of "We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID."