Former Levi's exec Jennifer Sey says there's 'no way out' for Bud Light from its woke troubles

The 'Levi's Unbuttoned' author offers advice to those working at woke corporations

Former business executive Jennifer Sey says Bud Light has backed itself in a corner for prioritizing ideology over product as seen by plummeting sales in recent months. 

Bud Light is still suffering significantly following its controversial partnership with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney. And things only got worse for the beer brand when its vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid swiped its core consumers by saying Bud Light's past advertising was "fratty" and "out of touch humor." 

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Sey warned that American brands with "big, broad reach" like Bud Light should "think long and hard" before embracing controversial stances and doing what she refers to as "reputation laundering." 

"The companies that do would argue it's about inclusion, but what people are rejecting is not the idea of inclusion, they're rejecting an underlying ideology which states that men can be women and that there is no such thing as biology," Sey said to Fox News Digital from FreedomFest 2023 in Memphis, Tenn. "These companies have taken these stances to curry favor with consumers. And what they've learned very quickly is there's a large portion of consumers that are saying, 'Yeah, no. I don't believe in that. I'm gonna take my business elsewhere.'"


"Unfortunately, I think for Bud Light, there is now no way out but through… They could have apologized in the beginning to their loyal fans. They did not. And now they've just angered both sides and their business continues to suffer. I think they're certainly scratching their heads about what to do but honestly for them at this point, I think there's no way out, but they have to wait it out. There's no way out but through. I think a lot of other companies are probably retrenching and going, 'Okay, how do we just shoot straight up the middle, focus on product, unifying marketing and just basics, business basics. That's my assumption is what they're doing because they've seen what what happens to those who do not," she continued. "If I was an executive at a company, and I was watching the beating that Bud Lights revenues, share and stock price have taken, I would want to avoid that. For the brand and business that I worked on. And you can do it by just staying focused on product. The brands- Modelo, Miller, Coors that have taken up the share that Bud lost- they haven't messaged in the opposite way. They've just message straight up the middle on product."

Jennifer Sey at FreedomFest 2023

Former Levi's executive Jennifer Sey spoke at the FreedomFest conference on Friday July 14, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn.  (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)

Sey made headlines in 2022 when she was forced to resign as the top brand chief at Levi Strauss & Co. after she had become vocal in her opposition towards extended school closures during the COVID pandemic. She had worked for the denim giant for 23 years and was on track to become the company's first female CEO.


Last week, a study from the CDC found there was a 17% spike in diagnosed developmental disabilities between 2019 and 2021 including autism, dyslexia and ADHD. Sey was not surprised to say the least.

"We isolated children. We prevented them from being with their same age peers. We left them home alone in their rooms by themselves on a screen- what do you think is going to happen? They're not going to know how to relate to their peers. They're going to be depressed. They're going to be- their development, educational, psychological, psychosocial development is going to be halted. It's so obvious!" Sey exclaimed. "Do I feel vindicated? I mean, in a sense, but not really because vindication sort of feels like a celebratory word. And while I feel we're acknowledging some of the harms done, we are not at the stage of demanding accountability. And I think that's what needs to happen."

Jennifer Sey at FreedomFest 2023

Sey says there's "no way out but through" for Bud Light following the backlash the beer giant received. (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)

Ever since her forced resignation, Sey had been outspoken against woke corporations, authoring the memoir "Levi's Unbuttoned: The Woke Mob Took My Job but Gave Me My Voice."  She believes woke culture stems from college campuses and how "safe spaces" essentially made their way into the workforce through an entire generation of graduates.

Before being targeted for her contrarian point of view by her liberal San Francisco colleagues, Sey described herself as once being among them, saying she was "left of left of center Democrat for probably 30 years" but now says the term "politically homeless" is an accurate term for her.

"The party's platform is completely ideological at this point," Sey told Fox News Digital. "You can't stray from one tenant of the platform without being banished, ousted, and I see the other side on the far reaches just as ideological. So I don't want to run over there either. I'm just gonna be me, an independent, and I'm going to say what I think."

On the subject of 2024, Sey expressed zero enthusiasm for a potential rematch between President Biden and former President Trump. She hasn't made any decision on who she would support but as far as the other candidates she is keeping an eye on some. She namedropped Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for how he handled COVID in his state and kept schools open while also mentioning Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who she liked for "different reasons," particularly for his opposition towards government agencies being "captured" by Big Pharma and corporate entities. 

"I think he has integrity," Sey said. "Do I agree with everything he says? No, but he's willing to ask hard questions and I think that's really important."


Jennifer Sey at FreedomFest 2023

Sey, formerly a self-described "leftie," now sees herself as "politically homeless" after forming differing views from other Democrats during COVID.  (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)

Her advice to anyone who has opposing views from their employer and colleagues is to "stop being silent."

placeholder"Those of us with common sense from all sides of the political aisle- I think we're the majority, but we've been cowed into silence and so you cannot stay silent," Sey said. "I know it is scary. And I know there are risks, but democracy and truth are really at risk in my mind and so you have to say the thing, you have to question untruths. You have to. We need you… Do it in your everyday life in small ways. You don't have to blow up your life, but you can ask questions, and you can do it nicely and diplomatically, but you don't have to further lies."

As someone who has lived by her own advice, Sey can firmly say she has no regrets while reflecting on what had transpired, telling  she had always prioritized her family. 

"I found out I was stronger than I thought I was," Sey said. "I was able to withstand all manner of vilification and ultimately being pushed out of my job to do what I thought was right… If you would have asked me if I was capable of that ten years ago, I'm not sure what I would have said. But I'm glad I did. I don't have any regrets. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself otherwise."

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