EPISODE 256: The Sins of Arrogance and Stupidity are now Visited Upon the Children with Jennifer Sey
World-class gymnast, author, filmmaker, and next-in-line to become CEO of Levi Strauss, Jennifer Sey talks pandemic-era school lockdowns and the backlash she received for speaking out against the school shutdowns with Bill Walton.
Jennifer was a seven-time member of the U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics Team and the 1986 U.S. Women’s All-Around National Champion. Her transition from the world of sports to the corporate arena saw her rise to a pivotal leadership role at Levi Strauss, contributing significantly to its resurgence. Along the way, she produced a documentary “Athlete A” and wrote a book “Chalked up” exposing the abuse of children and young women gymnasts that spurred radical change in the sport.
Sey was ostracized in deep blue San Francisco for publicly opposing the closures of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. She felt compelled to speak out for the children whose development and education were detrimentally affected by the isolation of virtual school.
Levi Strauss top management and the board told her to shut up or leave.
So she left.
“I think what people failed to predict, which I saw from the beginning, societally, we sent children the message that their education was not a priority, that they were not a priority, and in fact, if they missed things like having friends and an everyday life and key milestones, like graduations and football games, they were selfish, horrible people. Imagine what that does to a child’s psyche. So, now, the depression, the anxiety persists, not surprisingly, and we’re seeing record high levels of absenteeism,” Sey said.
She is now determined to make these effects clear to the American public with a documentary film titled Generation COVID. The documentary will highlight the stories of ten different families and the struggles of their children in the post-pandemic education environment.
The damage to be wreaked upon children by school closures was abundantly clear to many of us at the time.
“But the mainstream outlets like the New York Times vilified any dissenters,” reminds Jennifer. “Even renowned doctors, people like Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford, Martin Kulldorff from Harvard, Sunetra Gupta from Oxford. These are not fringe scientists or fringe epidemiologists, but they were shunned and delegitimized by the mainstream press.”
Yet seemingly forgetting the principal role it played in keeping the lockdowns in place, we now read this from the New York Times:
“The evidence is now in, and it is startling,” it exclaims. “The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the most damaging disruption in the history of American education.”
There’s a lot to be answered for here, starting with the amnesiac NYT.
This episode is more than just a conversation; it is a call to arms.
EPISODE 256 TRANSCRIPT
Bill Walton (01:08.126)
Welcome to the Bill Walton show. I’m Bill Walton. One of the great pleasures I have producing the show is the chance to talk with extraordinary people about their achievements and their missions. Today we have some true, have someone truly remarkable, Jennifer Say. Jennifer Say was a seven time member of the U S women’s national team in gymnastics and was the 1986 U S women’s all round national champion.
She produced a documentary, Athlete A, and wrote a book, Chalked Up, exposing the abuse of children and young women gymnasts that spurred radical change in the sport. After graduating from Stanford, she rose to become next in line for CEO of Levi, Levi Strauss, and was widely celebrated as a versatile and inspirational leader who helped save the iconic brand from bankruptcy.
She has described herself in the past as a Lisbon voting progressive, but everything changed when she publicly opposed the closure of San Francisco’s public schools at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Top management and the boardtold her to shut up or leave. So she left.
Then, just this week, we read in all places the New York Times, I quote, the evidence is now in and it is startling. The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the mostdamaging disruption in the history of American education. Jennifer, are we surprised?
jen sey (02:53.49)
No, anyone with half a brain who was paying attention and not sucked in by the propaganda is not surprised. It’sinfuriating to me that they dare to write this now as if it’s startling. The data was available all along, from the very, very beginning, that children were at little to no risk from COVID, that they were less likely to spread it, and that closing schools for more than a couple of weeks at a time is…
devastating, especially for the most vulnerable, the poorest children. Bill Walton (03:28.561)
Did you have kids in school in San Francisco then?
jen sey (03:31.87)
Yeah, I did. I have four children. They’re a wide range of ages. Two are now in their 20s and two are in elementary school. So at the time I had a high schooler, a college student and a kindergartner. So I, and a preschooler. So I saw it from all angles. It was terrible for all of them. And I should be clear, my children have every possible advantage. You know, they had a parent at home to help.
for the very youngest, you know, to help with quote-unquote Zoom school. I won’t grant it as school to this day. They had strong Wi-Fi, they had enough to eat, they’re, you know, not being abused, they’re not taking care of youngersiblings, all of the things that we know were true.
You still can’t protect a child, even a child of means, from the isolation, the depression and anxiety that comes from that. So children across all walks of life were harmed by this. And like I said, it was obvious from the beginning, but now three and a half years in, the New York Times tells us we’re allowed to talk about it after the damage has been done, because they talked about 50 million children that were shut out of school in March of 2020. A full year later,
25 million children, half of them, were still in disrupted schooling, and that lasted for another six to seven months.
Bill Walton (04:50.437)
Well, in the New York Times, I didn’t read the article all the way through. I never, I didn’t see any spot in it where they took accountability or had some accountability for this. It was like, say it was done by somebody else.
jen sey (05:00.851) Yeah, I mean…
Yes, and they, you know, I hold a special place of disdain for the mainstream press in my heart in terms of helping tofurther the hysteria that gave cover to government leaders, public health leaders, teachers unions in keeping schools closed.
The press is there to interrogate the issues. The press is there to hold power to account, and they did no such thing. They printed government-issued press releases and big pharma press releases as if it was journalism. If someone like me, a normie with basic math skills, could figure out from March 2020, excuse me, that this was going to be incredibly harmful to children, the most vulnerable children, it would be the most harmful to. If I could figure itout.
Why couldn’t the science desk at the New York Times? Bill Walton (05:54.161)
Now, I’m going to go into some of the other adventures in your life
and achievements, but let’s stick with your current project. You’re producing a documentary now about the impact of the lockdowns.
jen sey (06:04.811) Thank you.
jen sey (06:09.514)
I am, I’m producing a documentary, I’m directing it with a partner. His name is Andrew James. We met in the last few years during COVID as dissenters met online. There weren’t that many of us. We started filming in, I believe March, 2022. And we’ve been following about 10 families, kids from a range of backgrounds, range of geographies.
who face different kinds of challenges. You know, kids from low income backgrounds, kids who suffered from the mental health impacts. We have one family who lost a child, in fact, to suicide. We have a family here in Colorado where I live where the teenager dropped out, she was taking care of three younger siblings at home and she just didnot have the wherewithal. Or the adult supervision to continue special needs children
legally required services. So we try to cover all the issues. We’ve been filming for about a year and a half. We’re done filming and we’re editing now. It’s called Generation COVID.
Bill Walton (07:14.161)
What’s the extent of how the damage was obviously loss of learning, damage was emotional, social skills. I suppose there was related damage from having to wear masks and socially distance as a kid. And
there’s the drug and alcohol. I mean, I’m taking off a list of things. But what did you find as you pulled together all ofthe horribles about this?
jen sey (07:33.048) Go.
jen sey (07:40.466)
Yeah, I mean, you named a lot of them, but I think what people failed to predict, which I saw from the beginning,societally we sent children the message that their schooling was not a priority, that they were not a priority. Andin fact, if they missed things like having friends at an everyday life and key milestones like graduations and football games, they were selfish, horrible people. Imagine what that does to a child’s psyche. So now…
the depression, the anxiety, it persists, not surprisingly. And we’re seeing record high levels of absenteeism. There are districts in this country where more than 50% of the students are chronically absent. I mean, that’s crazy. So, to me, that is a direct result of indicating to children, your education isn’t that important. You’re not.
a priority for society because in most cities and states, even where I lived at the time, San Francisco, it was worse in deep blue cities and states. Bars were open, strip clubs were open, dance clubs, large stadiums. So adults got their lives back and kids were still relegated to their bedrooms on Zoom for a full year after adults were able to live their lives and have fun. And so I think we just sent a strong signal that they didn’t matter.
They took that seriously and they are not returning to school. They’re just not going. And so the other real crime here is that the high schools are just waving them through. They don’t have basic reading and math skills, but theygraduate. And they are now entering the world without basic skills that would enable them to hold a job. That harms us all.
Bill Walton (09:17.253)
We were speaking out about this three years ago. A lot of us guess on this show and related and, you know, it was obvious back then how bad this would be and why we had to end the regime of shutting down society. They didn’t listen. But you paid a particularly high personal price for this. You were what? The brand manager?
jen sey (09:43.298) president.
Bill Walton (09:43.369)
in charge at Levi Strauss brand and you turned around the company it was heading into bankruptcy and you’dsuccessfully help re-engineer
its resurgence and And were in line to be CEO which is a big deal and Then you started tweeting about what you feltabout the lockdowns.
What what was that like inside the? the C-suite
jen sey (10:02.21)
jen sey (10:09.695)
It was very unpleasant as you might imagine. And I should mention I worked there 23 years. So I was very committed to this brand and this company. I loved it. I loved the brand and worn it since I was a small child. So it was a real honor.
to be able to climb the ranks and hold the role of chief marketing officer for eight years, which is a pretty long time to hold that role. I think the average tenure for a CMO, as they’re called, is about 24 months. And in that role, I helped lead the company to a successful IPO and then became brand president. I started advocating for open schools. I really focused my advocacy on children, not the sort of broader lockdown issue.
I was against the broader lockdowns, but I didn’t talk about it as much. I felt like if I focus on children, thatshould be a bridge issue, that everybody can agree on. No one wants to harm children, right? Boy, was I wrong. So I thought, you know, if I focus my efforts there, I can make a difference. And I will point out, playgrounds in SanFrancisco were closed 10 months. This is city, an urban area. No one has a yard. Rich, poor, no one.
Bill Walton (11:16.051)
Well, they closed the basketball courts. That’s great for urban kids to have no exercise.
jen sey (11:21.63)
and they opened the golf courses. So, you know, it’s clear who didn’t matter in this situation. They closed basketball courts, they filled skate parks with sand. Years later, the basketball courts, even if they were officially open, therims were not put back. So there was just no care for children and we should put children first. So I startedadvocating for this. It started out just me tweeting, but then I was invited to write op-eds. I was on the local news. Iled rallies to open schools and, you know, inside the company.
Bill Walton (11:23.899) Yeah.
jen sey (11:52.364)
it was very difficult. I was told that, you know, this was not appropriate, I shouldn’t do this, lots of people were angry, I was called racist because the theory was inside and outside the company
that if you advocated for open public schools you didn’t care if black children died. When in fact the children thatwere being harmed the most were those most likely to be in public school, black, brown, low- income, etc.
Bill Walton (12:14.529)
Let me understand that they were arguing that if you kept the schools open, that was putting black children in danger, therefore you were being racist. That’s completely backwards. You know, we had a we had a I read I started an educational reading program in inner city public schools in Chicago and go into these tough, tough neighborhoods.And the elementary school was really the haven.
jen sey (12:23.694) Correct.
jen sey (12:27.854) Correct.
Bill Walton (12:43.105)
It was the place you wanted to be in those very bad neighborhoods, broken families, all that sort of thing. The elementary school was the beacon.
jen sey (12:43.597) Yeah.
jen sey (12:53.95)
Yeah, I mean, this is where in many schools in San Francisco, 60% of children in public schools are on free or reduced lunch. So that means they’re living at or below the poverty line in many instances. School is where they are fed, it’swhere they have. Adult supervision, and I’m not accusing these parents of being neglectful, that’s not it at all, but they were working hourly wage, essential jobs, maybe two of them, they just simply weren’t home and available to help and monitor their children.
Bill Walton (13:01.287) Yeah.
jen sey (13:24.084)
Sometimes they work the night shift, so very young children were left home alone. You know, I’m not in any waymaligning these parents.
Public school, it’s a contract with our community. People have come to it. You can argue that the public schoolsystem stinks and we shouldn’t have it, but the fact is that millions and millions of families and households across America rely on it to educate and take care of their children. And it was taken away just overnight. And those kids are not.
okay, this is not a temporary thing. This is permanent for far too many children because if you disengage from school and now you haven’t gone back and now you don’t graduate, even if that’s five percentage of this generation, that’s a massive impact for us all.
Bill Walton (14:09.785)
Well, and it’s worse than that. You… You’re… Nah, well, but it’s mostly… Yeah, it’s…
jen sey (14:11.838)
Oh, it is. I’m underplaying it because people say, well, it’s not every child. No, of course it’s not every child. But it’s far too many. And it’s a general, it’s criminal. I mean, it really is. It’s a moral atrocity that we did this to the mostvulnerable children.
Bill Walton (14:28.017)
So the discussion that led up to your departure from Levi, were they telling you you’re hurting the brand or were they telling you they disagreed with your view? Was it on the substance or was it about affecting, you know, back in the day when corporations weren’t supposed to take positions on matters like that, even if that was the case then, it probably wasn’t. But was this a corporate issue or a personal issue?
jen sey (14:39.022) Kind of.
jen sey (14:55.212) It was both.
Bill Walton (14:56.207) Okay.
jen sey (14:56.266)
or at least it was cited as both. And it wasn’t a one-time conversation, it went on consistently for two years and Ivery politely declined to stop. And I should say, it wasn’t just internally, it was externally and as I grew a bit more of a following online, there were definitely people that came after me, so it was external as well. There were folks in the gymnastics community, I know we’ll talk about gymnastics, but I had some notoriety there who started a petition to have me fired.
I mean, it was only signed by 50 people, but it’s hard to explain if you didn’t live in a deep blue city like I did, how.
total it was, this belief that if you thought anything other than total lockdown forever, mask up, three masks, never go out, lockdown until they tell us we can leave, that was just so comprehensive. It was so total.
from every citizen in San Francisco, that if you dare to just say, hey, wait a minute, is this right? Is everyone at equal risk? Children aren’t really, you were just demonized. I mean, I was called a racist, a eugenicist, a Nazi. I was called a Nazi.
Bill Walton (16:14.737)
Well, how profound a change is this caused in your personal philosophy? Because we talked before we got on, I’ve had Jeanine Yanez on and Naomi Wolf, and they both were, I think I mentioned at the outset, I read that you were a big Elizabeth Warren supporter, and you changed because of this, they changed because of this. How complete has your transformation been?
jen sey (16:42.194)
Um, you know, what I’ve said from the beginning of kind of the onslaught is that I am about principle, not party. And so in fact, you know, I have a realign myself politically. I’m an independent now. I’m not a Democrat. I have notrun into the arms of the other either. Um, I want to be able to evaluate the issues, you know,
prioritize for me and my family what matters to us and vote accordingly. And it does just seem at this point, like both parties sort of demand that you line up on every issue. You know, it used to be, you could be a pro-choice Republican or you could be a pro-life Democrat. Now you cannot veer from the, you know, furthest reaches of either party. And I do think it’s worse on the left. So I definitely want no association with that party. And I just, I feel like everything they ever said
is a lie. They don’t care about children. They don’t care about the vulnerable. They don’t care about small business owners. They don’t care about freedom of speech.
Bill Walton (17:45.129)
This is Bill Walton, I’m talking, Bill Walton show, I’m talking to Jennifer Sayes, had an extraordinary career. I think starting at 11 years old, you were considered one of the elite gymnasts in America, and you went on to win the national championship in gymnastics, and you wrote a book, I believe it’s called Chocked Up, that talks about the psychological abuse that goes on in training young gymnasts, and then you went on to produce
uh, the film, uh, goodness, athlete a, and we were talking before we got on, I was going to do some prep this morning and I thought I’d look at your documentary, take a couple of minutes just to see what it’s about. And an hour and 45 minutes later, I was still, uh, taking it in riveted. I mean, the, what you exposed in, uh, the elite
gymnastics world was, uh, was an eye-opener and I’m going to tie
jen sey (18:43.31) soon.
Bill Walton (18:43.762)
Is anything we see in the school closing as that psychology relate to the psychology of the people running gymnastics?
jen sey (18:54.61)
Well, that’s interesting. Yeah, I think so. I know, I think so. I was going to say for me, I’m pushing back on the harms being done is certainly related, and that I was a young gymnast and adult needs, wants, etc. were put before
Bill Walton (18:57.698)
That was a nine part question. I can…
jen sey (19:14.498)
children, the children who make the sport what it is. You know, the USA Gymnastics was very invested in presenting the sport as, you know, this image of little girls.
prancing around with pin curls and sparkly and happy and all of that, right? That drove sponsorship dollars. The reality is the training was incredibly brutal and rife with emotional, physical and sexual abuse. And it was happening all around us. You know, the national team coach throughout the eighties, who was the Olympic team coach in the 1984 Olympics when Mary Lou won, he was a pedophile and a rapist and we all knew it. And I traveled around the world with him. Now,
He didn’t touch me, but the fact that we all knew and we were all sent around the world with this man and what was implied is don’t say anything. He’s very well respected. He comes first. So I think adults just sacrificing children for their own gain, that is, I think with these entities and I’ll compare USAG and public health and local government leaders all the way up to governor.
Bill Walton (20:22.294)
And you can compare them with the teacher’s union.
jen sey (20:25.902)
Sure, exactly. They sacrifice children for their own whatever. Now for me it’s related because I view, I wish somebody had spoken up for me when I was a child. You know the strong message sent to me was you need to just keep your mouth shut and go along and so all these people saying oh my kids are fine the kids are fine really kids are going to try to please the adults around them.
Not every single child, but most children, you know, they have that
inclination, especially, you know, the young ones. And so…
What I want to do with the film that we’re making is give voice to these children. I want them to, I want people tohear from the mouths of the kids themselves what happened, what did you experience, how did it make you feel, and where are you now? Because I don’t know how you can’t reassess your priors when you hear directly from the mouths of children and what they’ve gone through. But that to me is, you know, for me it was standing up for children who are vulnerable and have no voice and I think for these…
institutions, whether USAG or the US Olympic Committee or the teachers unions or Gavin Newsom, they ignored theneeds of children and put their own needs first.
Bill Walton (21:35.485) Well, you were part of a.
played a role in bringing the people who are responsible for this in gymnastics to account. Do we have a line of action and education? I mean, there are a lot of people, a lot of grownups responsible for this all over the country, in fact, all over the world. New Zealand and Australia were arguably worse than here. As you develop this documentary, talk with people, what do we do next? I mean, how do we, do we, do we…
jen sey (21:57.527) Yeah.
jen sey (22:05.634)
Well, there is no line of action. There’s all this money that was set aside. I don’t even remember what it was kind ofcalled or earmarked as, but billions of dollars that was intended to be used to upgrade the schools so that kids could go to in-person school safely. Let me just say the schools didn’t need to be upgraded. Open a window and let them goto school. Open a window, open the doors, let them go to school. That’s what they did in Europe.
Bill Walton (22:33.818) Right.
jen sey (22:34.454)
Everybody says, oh, you can’t compare to Europe. The buildings, the buildings are older in Europe, if you have any sense of history, and they open the doors and they let them come in. That’s all that needed to be done. So none ofthat money was spent. The kids did not go back to school for close to 19 months. That money’s gonna be lost. It needs to be used to lengthen the school day, provide tutors to those children behind, add summer school. None of this is happening though. And the biggest problem is huge swaths of kids are not.
coming back. So how do you tutor them? How do you extend the school day? How do you, you know, add summer school? So we need people to go into communities and bring these children back. There’s an organization here in Colorado where I live called Zero Dropouts. They literally go door to door.
Bill Walton (23:17.737) Mm-hmm.
jen sey (23:20.522)
If a child, they work with the school system, they knock on doors, they talk to parents, and they are so incrediblypersistent. Because at first, the parents won’t answer. They go back again and again and again until they have a conversation and they get that child back in school. We need some sort of program modeled after zero dropouts because there are far too many children that just aren’t attending. None of this is happening though. But my hope for the film is that it can kind of get people activated. I mean, you know, Athlete A came out four years after
the Larry Nassar crimes were revealed to the world. Two years after he went to prison, but that film is what motivated gymnasts around the world to demand change from their governing bodies. It was the film.
And so I believe in the power of art to do that and to motivate and activate people.
Bill Walton (23:53.852) Yeah.
Bill Walton (24:10.357)
So how are you financing the film? I speak, I speak as a former, as a former film, I’ve produced a couple of movies myself, they’re expensive.
jen sey (24:13.459) That’s a great question.
jen sey (24:20.854)
They are, and any advice is welcome. Here’s how I’ve gone about it. I mean, the documentary film community and those who fund it are very liberal, not classical liberal, like lefty activist liberal. And so, you know, though I reached out to many of those traditional sources who I’d known from the athlete day, they declined. They said it was too controversial and political. So I found…
alternate sources of private investors and I’ve invested in the film myself. And we need more to finish it.
Bill Walton (24:53.085)
So I’m going to network right on air. Do you know Michael Pack? Michael Pack ran the unit that ran the agency that operated Voice of America. And he is a very, very successful documentary filmmaker. He did documentaries on Rick Over and Clarence Thomas. And I’d call him, I’d say he’s sort of right of center. And he produced a lot of his films for NPR.
jen sey (24:56.542) I love it. I do not.
Bill Walton (25:22.637)
And my guy, he’s doing an incubator. So I think, and also he was on the show two or three times and we talked about the difficulties of, of quote, conservative. Although I’m not that, I’m not quite sure that’s the right word to describe, um, what we’re talking about, uh, to get financed and to get distributed. And have you thought about distribution and all that? Where, how are we going to, how are we going to make sure of millions of people see this?
jen sey (25:23.229) So cool.
jen sey (25:34.364) Yeah.
jen sey (25:39.978) Yeah. That’s correct.
jen sey (25:50.294)
Well, that’s the thing is my fondest hope is that I’m not just preaching to the choir and because I don’t view this as a political film. This is about kids. So I am targeting and I’ve not yet reached out, but I’m about to start reaching out to the large mainstream streamers. And, you know, I’ll go from there. But I don’t want to preach to the choir. You know, I really want Americans of all backgrounds and all political stripes to hear from the children themselves.
Bill Walton (26:18.589)
Well, that’s the biggest problem and Janine Eunice has written about this a lot, which is the censorship regime where you get an idea like you have and a cause that you have and it’s under reported or even it’s not reported at all, which is why I was surprised to see the New York Times, they didn’t do a mea culpa, but at least they admitted what happened.
jen sey (26:25.376) Yeah.
jen sey (26:42.238)
Yeah, I mean, I would go one step further. The mainstream outlets actually vilified any dissenters. These are renowned doctors, people like Dr. Bhattacharya from Stanford and Martin Kuller, who was…
from Harvard at the time, Sunetra Gupta from Oxford, these are the medical professionals who implemented theGreat Barrington Declaration. These are not fringe scientists or fringe epidemiologists, but that’s how they were shunted and delegitimized by the mainstream press.
Bill Walton (27:20.361)
people lost their positions and you know it’s uh were you involved in the Barrington Declaration when they signed that great document in what November 2020?
jen sey (27:22.722) Yeah.
jen sey (27:31.898)
No, I know it’s just…
No, and I’ve since met everyone and have become sort of part of that little community. I mentioned that Janine is agood friend and Dr.
Bhattacharya is in the film, but no, I was not there at the time. I was screaming from San Francisco by my lonesome. I want to just point out that the censorship and the social censorship was also really intense and I think was a reason
jen sey (28:03.988)
because you risk losing your community, your friends. You know, they saw what happened. People like me and Janine, if we spoke up and they were like, whoa, I’m just gonna stay here in the corner and be quiet. You know, I would not underestimate the power and intensity of that social censorship, especially for women who are often the, you know, you know, you’re the one making play dates for your kids and you’re the one with relationships in thecommunity and you know, we are.
tend to have more empathy. We just, we can’t handle that, you know? And so I think for most women, it just was,you know, they weren’t gonna speak up even if they saw the harms to their kids. But the mainstream media, not including dissenting voices, is what prevented a societal conversation, a real conversation from happening. And it’s why schools were closed for so long. That’s why the censorship is so dangerous, because we cannot get to the right answers.
Bill Walton (28:59.037)
So as a marketing maven, how do we market this better?
jen sey (29:05.098)
Free speech, market free speech better.
Bill Walton (29:07.625)
Okay, yeah, that’s where I am. Yeah, I had a couple of shows pulled from YouTube because I think we were talking about, I think it was masks or something. I was against masks. And was it masks that got us pulled? Yeah.
jen sey (29:18.292) Yeah.
jen sey (29:23.286)
That would do it. Yeah, I mean, my trailer for the film, Generation COVID, which we have a YouTube channel, we’ve posted the teaser for the film there. Everyone should check it out. It has a COVID warning on it, now, in November, 2023. Yeah.
Bill Walton (29:40.114) Really.
That’s on your YouTube channel or your Substack channel? On YouTube? Yeah, I get community guideline warnings a fair amount, and I don’t think I’m… Ha ha.
jen sey (29:45.215) Yep, you too.
jen sey (29:53.566)
You know, as far as how to market it, I think the thing that scares me the most is that I think there is a very highnumber of young people in particular, millennials who aren’t that young anymore, and Gen Zs who actually don’t want free speech.
They actually don’t want it. They’ve been conditioned. They’ve grown up with safe spaces and speeches violenceand all of this nonsense. And they think free speech is dangerous. I don’t think they would articulate it that way. And they want it for some, they want it for themselves as they march screaming from the river to the sea, but they don’t want it for others. And so it’s a difficult uphill climb, but I think for those of us who do believe in it, which I still think is more than half of us, we need to exercise it every single day. That’s the best way.
Bill Walton (30:27.122) Ha ha ha.
jen sey (30:40.348)
to market it is to exercise it every single day. Do not be quiet, do not be careful. Say the thing you need to say and Iwill defend your
right to do it even if I disagree with you.
Bill Walton (30:51.429)
So you’re settled in Denver now, have you started up a new gig or are you spending all your time focusing on film production?
jen sey (30:59.966)
Well, I’ve been consulting with companies, but I am starting up a new thing of my own, which is the first time I’ve said that, but I’m not going to tell you anymore. I am starting my own brand.
Bill Walton (31:12.645)
Well, I want some breaking news. More to come. Okay. We’ll have you back on when you’re ready to, you’re ready to announce it. Cause you know, you’ve got too much talent to, uh, to not, not do anything with it. Although maybe if you can get education turned around, that would be, you know, just a small achievement, get that done this year and then go on to the next.
jen sey (31:14.754)
More to come on that soon. I’d love to come back when we’re close. Yeah.
jen sey (31:32.031)
Yeah, I’ll work on that. I’ll give that a go.
Bill Walton (31:38.51)
Yeah. So when do you wrap and I guess you’re already in editing, when do you expect to start distributing orlooking for a distributor?
jen sey (31:45.802)
I’m gonna start looking now. So for anyone listening, you know, I’m coming. I’m coming for you. I’m gonna start looking. I have not yet, I was waiting for this teaser to be done and we’re editing and we hope, you know, we think late spring is when it’ll be released.
Bill Walton (32:01.933)
Are you familiar with Brownstone Institute, Jeffrey Tucker? Seems like you, oh, good. So I feel like I’ve given shortshrift to your gymnastics career. I don’t really, it’s been so extraordinary. You were six time, or eight time on the US national team and you won the championship win, what was it, 2008.
jen sey (32:05.866)
Very familiar, I have a piece coming out today, in fact.
jen sey (32:30.158)
Bill Walton (32:31.133)
jen sey (32:33.054)
No, 1986, I’m old, come on, 1986. 2008 is when the book came out. Yeah, my book Chocked Up came out in 2008, and it was the first person account of how abusive and cruel the sport is.
Bill Walton (32:37.156)
I was looking at all those kids in the documentary.
Bill Walton (32:46.321)
When you said you were the worst national champion ever in 50 years, I cannot believe that.
jen sey (32:52.918)
I’ve been accused of such. I don’t take offense though. That’s not a point of pride for me, my gymnastics skill. At 54, I really don’t care what people think of me as a gymnast at 16.
Bill Walton (33:07.601)
Would you recommend your kids getting into gymnastics?
jen sey (33:11.774)
You know, my daughter who’s seven does do it recreationally. Yeah, it’s such a fun sport. I think you just have to pay attention to how your kids are feeling. And, you know, I tell parents, watch, you know, understand the coach’s philosophy about sport that, you know, ideally it’s about the development of the whole child.
and not about just winning medals. I think in fact, you know, honestly, today I often feel like things veer too far in the other direction with everyone gets a medal and all of that.
Nonsense. I don’t think everyone should get a medal. There are winners and losers and it’s good for a kid. That’s part of the reason kids do sports is to learn how to lose and pick themselves up and keep trying. So yeah, I would. I don’t want my kids to be too serious at anything. There’s a very short window of time when you get to be a child and training 10 hours a day kind of interferes with that as you might imagine.
Bill Walton (34:11.613)
Well, thank you. I’m honored. As I said, as I read about you, I’m in awe of your achievement. Let’s wrap a little bit. Name of the film, and where can we find it, and more importantly, where can we find the website? I assume you’ve got a Fund Me website. How do we find all that?
jen sey (34:32.57)
I do, I got everything. I write on Subsec, which is just my name,
Jennifer Say, S-E-Y. I’m very active on Twitter. The film, the trailer is on YouTube. Our channel is called Generation COVID Film, and we’ve got a give, send, go. Anyone who wants to contribute every little bit helps. Again, if you goto give, send, go and just search for Generation COVID Film.
Um, we’d love it. $5, $6, $100, whatever you can do. Well, you know. Bill Walton (35:04.241)
Oh, you can do more, more. Yeah, all right. Well, look, this has been
great. And offline, I’m going to put you together with Michael Pack and maybe we can help accelerate the launch. So Jennifer, say thank you. I appreciate the time and appreciate telling me about your film and what’s been happening in the schools. And hope you enjoyed this segment. And this has been a big issue.
jen sey (35:16.734) Awesome. Appreciate that.
Bill Walton (35:32.785)
the closing of the schools and how we claw back from that is one of the things we’re going to be reckoning withfor years. And, uh, so stay tuned. We’ll be covering this going forward. And we’re also going to be covering Jennifer Say’s new adventure when she’s ready to, uh, when she’s ready to launch. So Jennifer, thanks so much for joining.
jen sey (35:51.71)
Thank you for having me, Bill. It was really great to talk to you.
Bill Walton (35:55.121)
Okay, great, thanks. That was great, thank you.
jen sey (36:00.326)
Awesome, thank you. You did your homework. How did you like the movie, athlete?
Bill Walton (36:04.633) I love the movie.
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