A literary agency announced the termination of one of their agents because that agent had used alternative social media platform Parler. In response to tweets by an account called YA Whispers, which announced that the agent in question, Colleen Oefelein, had signed on to alternative social media platforms, the agency reacted with swift, public termination.
YA Whispers shared a screen shot of Oefelein's tweet that said she was going to be on Parler and would give away some critiques, likely for writers. Oefelein wrote "I'm now also posting on Parler. It's a great platform with no censorship! Giving away a few critiques there next week. Come find me"
The anonymous whistleblowing account asked "Does [Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency] know or care that one of their agents frequents alt-right social media like Parler and Gab?"
Jennifer De Chiara replied with appreciation, saying "Thanks 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."
Jennifer De Chiara took to her own Twitter to tout her actions, saying that "The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency was distressed to discover this morning, January 25th, that one of our agents has been using the social media platforms Gab and Parler. We do not condone this activity, and we apologize to anyone who has been affected or offended by this."
Note that De Chiara said that Oefelein was using Gab and Parler, though Oefelein herself said she was using Parler, and did not mention Gab. Gab was only mentioned by YA Whispers as part of their take down campaign. De Chiara didn't even look into it, one wonders if she asked Oefelein what she was up to at all.
In follow-up tweets, De Chiara wrote that "The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency has in the past and will continue to ensure a voice of unity, equality, and one that is on the side of social justice."
Then DeChiara announced the name of the person who had been terminated, saying "As of this morning, Colleen Oefelein is no longer an agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency."
Oefelein wrote this response on Twitter. "Well thanks Twitter and @JDLitAgency. I just got fired because I'm a Christian and a conservative."
The young adult publishing world is chock-full of censors, hypocrites, and take-down artists. Author Jesse Signal conducted something of an expose to show just how absurd and petty these take-downs have been. But the Oefelein firing is a new level of absurdity.
Oefelein, who has said outright that she is a Christian and a conservative, was fired from her job for reaching out on social media to potential authors who she might like to work with. That's presumably an agent's job. And presumably there are authors who have Christian and conservative views. But the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency isn't interested in reaching out to those authors, or publishing them, and doesn't have any tolerance for their agents to do so either.
In the wake of the Biden win of the 2020 US presidential election, there have been calls from the left to silence, deprogram, and deplatform anyone who has either worked for Trump or voted for him. There is a pervasive feeling on the left, specifically the cultural left, of which De Chiara obviously believes her agency to be a part, that the cultural landscape must be scrubbed of opposing views.
The social media platform Parler was launched to be a free speech alternative to Twitter and Facebook, both of which routinely censor, suppress, ban and suspend conservatives for not agreeing with the going leftist narrative. Parler itself was then deplatformed when both Apple and Google refused to host it in their app stores, and Amazon removed the company from their servers.
Literary agents should be open to free speech, robust discourse, and a multitude of views. But as we've seen, the publishing industry is pathetic when it comes to having any kind of backbone to stand up for opposing views. Simon and Schuster recently declined to publish Senator Josh Hawley's book because he voted against the certification of the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden. We are not living in an age where the open exchange of ideas is even remotely welcomed.
Perhaps Oefelein will open her own agency, one that is legitimately interested in authors for the quality of their work, and not the content of their political views.
Jennifer De Chiara has since protected her Twitter account.
The Post Millennial reached out to both Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency and to Colleen Oefelein, but has not heard back at the time of publication.