Anti-cancel culture Tweeters call the termination ‘absolute madness’
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency fired agent Colleen Oefelein for “using social media platforms Gab and Parler,” known for their right-wing user base. De Chiara confirmed the firing in now-deleted tweets after an anonymous Twitter account @YaWhispers called out Oefelein.
“Well thanks Twitter and @JDLitAgency. I just got fired because I’m a Christian and a conservative,” said Oefelein in a tweet. The former agent came under fire for previous social media posts, indicating people could reach her on Parler and Gab, which the @YaWhispers account shared with her employer. One Twitter user called the platforms “MAGA echo chambers.”
“People don’t use those sites to arrange playdates,” tweeted Jodi Jacobson. “They are sites used to spread lies and plan violence.”
“Does @JDLitAgency know or care that one of their agents frequents alt-right social media like Parler and Gab?” read one now-deleted tweet, quoting a November tweet from Oefelein that says, in part, “I’m now also posting on Parler. It’s a great platform with no censorship!”
Founder and President Jennifer De Chiara responded to the anonymous account, saying, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have taken swift action, and as of this morning, January 25th, Colleen Oefelein is no longer an agent at this agency.”
@YAWhispers, whose bio reads, “the Lady Whistledown of YA,” in a reference to the Bridgerton series, included Oefelein’s outed tweets in a master list of literary agents to avoid. Among them is Marisa Corvisiero, who fired her entire staff last year after her own controversial tweets. However noble in intent, the account’s anonymity was a sticking point for critics of the firing.
“A random anonymous Twitter account, which calls itself “YA Whispers,” informs Jennifer that one of her agents simply *used* a social media platform and therefore should be terminated—and Jennifer actually goes and fires her then publicly brags about it!” wrote Thomas Chatterton Williams in a series of tweets. “Absolute madness.”
Making the Book & Film Globe trifecta, Oefelein’s supporters include Sasha White, another fired literary agent, who shared the breaking story on social media. “Everyone can identity [sic] as they please. And apparently American literary agencies identify as completely spineless—based on my own and Colleen Oefelein’s experience. Colleen (@eerie_o) is the latest victim of the toxic cancel culture in the publishing industry,” wrote White.
“I have not used either site and my understanding is that Parler is bad and Gab is awful, but I’m still quite uncomfortable with the idea of an employer firing someone merely for using them, in the absence of more evidence of some sort of wrongdoing,” tweeted writer Jesse Singal. “This is just a bad road.”