De Chiara Literary Agency Fires Agent for Using Right-Wing Social Media Platforms

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.”

De Chiara

The agency, founded by De Chiara in 2001, works on mostly children’s and young adult literature, and notably has repped soap opera actors from the Young and the Restless and General Hospital.

@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.”

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Katie Smith

Katie Smith is a Philadelphia-based writer. Find her on Instagram @saddy_yankee for cat pics.

8 thoughts on “De Chiara Literary Agency Fires Agent for Using Right-Wing Social Media Platforms

  • January 27, 2021 at 5:08 pm
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    Jennifer De Chiara Publishing will almost certainly be facing a wrongful termination lawsuit for her abusive act towards her employee. We all need to avoid publishers like Jennifer De Chiara who actively attack and harm people for their beliefs.

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  • January 27, 2021 at 9:12 pm
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    You would think a literary agent would be the least likely to participate in “cancel culture” given the history of book banning. What a bigoted, prejudiced twit this Jennifer woman is! She probably considers Trump a “Fascist” . Jennifer, look in the mirror if you want to see a real Fascist . #MakeOrwellFictionAgain

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  • January 28, 2021 at 2:41 pm
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    Twitter opened the floodgates when they banned the sitting president of the United States. Now everyone is jumping on that bandwagon with no fear of repercussions. But I have recently thought that this rabid culture of banning and cancelling people will cause some to cross a line that only the most biased, angry and evil people could accept. I think Jennifer Di Chiara may be the one. Anyone with two ounces of fair-mindedness sees this as absolute malicious virtue signaling. Let’s hope the tide will turn sooner than later. Maybe a successful wrongful termination suit will help. What the hell was she thinking when she publicly admitted and bragged about firing someone because they had set up a social account?

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  • January 29, 2021 at 4:55 pm
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    It is crazy that you would think that literary agents in the book business would be one of the first that would consider censoring people like that as wrong. Wow, freedom of speech means nothing to them and this is the book business. It is social media platforms like Parler that offer censor- free Facebook-like media for people who believe in freedom of speech for whatever party or no party people belong to.
    This is a shame and I hope people want no part of company’s that fire people like that. Shame on them. I hope Colleen the best.

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  • January 29, 2021 at 10:07 pm
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    Well, I sympathize with someone who’s fired just because her belief is contrary to that of her co-workers, but she is partly responsible because she chose to work in a field of bottom feeders akin to stereotypical small loan sharks and used car salespeople. Some exceptions, of course; there are a few nice folks in the business(when you can find them), and maybe she was one. When she looks back on this later, she’ll likely be happy as hell she got out when she did. She was infected by a virus deadlier than Covid-19. Covid-19 is indiscriminate. Leftist & Democrat Weeds, including most literary agents, aren’t. If you were to test these vicious people, by written or verbal exam, 95% would fail because they’re just plain ignorant, don’t know the issues, the remainder because they’re just mean and maybe a little evil, twisted from the womb. Either way, they’re just part of the cattle herd.

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  • February 1, 2021 at 10:37 pm
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    I seem to recall a time when literary people were anti-censorship….

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  • February 24, 2021 at 2:59 pm
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    The firing of Colleen Oefelein is an excellent example why states ought to enact legislation that makes “lawful off-duty conduct” protected activity and prohibits employers from taking any kind of adverse action against employees due to the “lawful off-duty conduct” on the part of the employee. My state of California has such a law and a handful of other states including Colorado, North Dakota and New York have such laws. Unfortunately, aside from Montana which requires that employers have just cause before discharging an employee, employees in the vast majority of states have no such protections.

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