In this episode, Vivek Ramaswamy and Jennifer Sey engage in a thought-provoking conversation about the definition and potential dangers of "woke" culture, particularly in relation to free speech and corporate America. Jennifer Sey, a former executive who left her job after expressing an unpopular opinion on school closures, shares her personal experiences navigating the world of wokeness. They discuss the impact of wokeness on various aspects of society, including the creation of hostile work environments, censorship, and the importance of maintaining apolitical spaces in a diverse democracy.
Jennifer Anne Sey is a former artistic gymnast, author, and business executive born in 1969. She has an impressive athletic background, having been a seven-time member of the U.S. Women's National Team and winning the 1986 U.S. Women's All-Around National Championship. Sey also represented the U.S. in international competitions such as the 1985 Women's World Championships and the 1986 Goodwill Games. After retiring from gymnastics, Sey transitioned to the business world, where she has had a successful career.
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00:00 - Vivek Ramaswamy talks about the debate surrounding the definition of "woke" and how it's used by different groups.
00:27 - Vivek defines "woke" in neutral terms and highlights the potential dangers it poses, including increased division and a culture of fear.
01:56 - The impact of wokeness on corporate America, the creation of hostile work environments, and viewpoint discrimination.
03:08 - How wokeness threatens free speech culture and the importance of free speech for discovering the truth.
03:29 - The consequences of censorship, illustrated by the COVID lab leak theory and the school closure debate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
05:02 - Introduction of Jennifer Sey, a former executive who lost her job for expressing an unpopular opinion about school closures.
06:34 - Jennifer Sey's journey in climbing the corporate hierarchy, achieving success, and the events that led to her departure from the corporate world.
00:07:38 - The guest shares her experience traveling to Moscow in 1986 as a national gymnast and trading Levi's 501s with Russian athletes.
00:08:11 - The guest discusses her first book, which exposed the culture of abuse and cruelty in gymnastics, and how she was an early advocate for the sexual abuse issue in the sport.
00:08:38 - She talks about the Larry Nassar case and how it led to her redemption in the public eye.
00:12:40 - The guest begins discussing her concerns about the negative impact of prolonged school closures and other restrictions on children during the pandemic, such as closed playgrounds, masking of toddlers, and the lack of age stratification of risk.
00:13:39 - The guest explains how her own children were affected by the school closures, and how she was outspoken on social media about the situation, particularly for low-income families who were likely struggling even more.
00:15:15 - The guest talks about her move to Twitter, where she connected with doctors and experts to ask questions, and eventually started to lead rallies in San Francisco and attend school board meetings in an effort to make a change.
00:15:50 - Guest talks about working from home and attending school board meetings virtually during the pandemic.
00:16:23 - Fall of 2020, the guest is informed that people are noticing and don't like what they're saying about reopening schools.
00:19:39 - The guest is incensed by the hypocrisy of those who were criticizing her, as they were sending their own children to in-person private schools while denying access to public school children.
00:24:17 - The guest discusses an example of protected speech, showcasing the irony of being silenced for advocating for school reopening.
00:28:38 - The speaker questions why it is not acceptable to share a viewpoint that challenges orthodoxy on a national platform.
00:36:38: The guest recounts the $1 million offer they received to remain silent about their separation from their previous employer.
00:42:09 - Chip Berg, the CEO of Levi's, is criticized for his lack of courage and support for free speech.