If one were to judge Colleen Oefelein by her bio, the now-former literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency seemed like a relatively employable person.
Too bad she had social media accounts on the wrong networks.
On her Manuscript Wish List website, Oefelein describes herself as “a retired chemical engineer, Air Force officer, and disabled veteran who’s worked 911 dispatch for Alaska State Troopers and currently teaches Irish Dance and volunteers in my son’s Kindergarten class as the nose wiper, POUT POUT FISH reader, and janitor.
“I speak German, can fly a helicopter, net a salmon, navigate a river, and pack a chute. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, I now live in Alaska, but still root for the Steelers and Penguins. I hold a BS in Chemical Engineering with a focus in Biotechnology, and a BS in German, both from Penn State University. I also have one pointed ear.”
In fact, the only evidence that Oefelein might have political and social opinions was that she seemed to reject works that trafficked in those. She said she was “weary of politics, school shootings, dragons, vampires, faeries, and werewolves.” She added that “I enjoy working with authors who show social media savvy and who haven’t alienated one half of the nation or the other with intolerance.”
Unfortunately, Oefelein alienated her employer when Twitter users noticed she’d talked about her Parler and Gab accounts. They apparently notified the agency, and this was the result:
Well thanks Twitter and @JDLitAgency. I just got fired because I’m a Christian and a conservative.
— Colleen Oefelein (@eerie_o) January 25, 2021
That tweet was Monday. Since then, Oefelein has maintained radio silence. What we can piece together about her firing comes from now-protected tweets by De Chiara herself.
“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,” De Chiara wrote.
“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,” she added.
“As of this morning, Colleen Oefelein is no longer an agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.”
— Real Jose Galvan (@Jose_Galvan) January 26, 2021
The Jennifer De Chiara agency describes itself on Twitter as a “full-service literary agency representing children’s literature for all ages, adult fiction, non-fiction, and more since 2001.” According to its website, the titles the agency has pitched range from Angus MacMouse (which, in fairness, looks cute enough) to the author of “The Green Book.” They seem to be heavy on young adult and memoirs.
It’s worth pointing out that most responses on Twitter supported the agency’s move, taunting or castigating Oefelein for her choice of social media networks.
Conservatives can’t be Christian. Unless you follow blue eyed Jesus with blond highlights. pic.twitter.com/oRUMelwsF9
— Muffley Merkin (@muffley_merkin) January 26, 2021
No, you were fired because you pal around with people who’d like to murder anyone who doesn’t look like them.
— (((Zan Safra))) is Querying (@CharmQuark12) January 25, 2021
Being a Christian means to further love and understanding. Being on Parler means to lie, spread misinformation and hatred. Both are mutually exclusive. However, perhaps you‘ve been there to convert people, to be a missionary. I don’t know, so can’t really say if they’re right.
— reallybadwriter (@reallybadwrite1) January 25, 2021
And why not? Parler doesn’t have the best reputation right now, considering you can scarcely see any report on the free speech-centric platform (currently deplatformed and awaiting migration to new servers) that doesn’t involve slapping it the pejorative “far right” and blaming it for planning the Capitol incursion. (Oddly, Facebook apparently played a larger role in the planning process, but shhh.)
Gab, another free-speech platform favored by the right, also has branding issues, some of them deserved. While the platform is recently popular with more mainstream conservatives who’ve migrated from Twitter after a series of Trump-adjacent purges, Gab has had serious issues in the past. It’s been a bit too welcoming to problematic figures such as white nationalist Richard Spencer and accused Pittsburgh synagogue mass-murderer Robert Bowers, who had posted anti-Semitic screeds on the platform before he allegedly killed 11 people in 2018, according to The Washington Post.
That said, being on those platforms doesn’t necessarily mean you tacitly approve of any of this, particularly if you’re migrating over because of Twitter’s speech restrictions.
There’s nothing to indicate Oefelein was terminated for what she posted on Parler and Gab — just for having them.
On her Gab account, there’s only one post visible. She follows some of the dodgier accounts on the platform — alt-righter Roosh V, Infowars figure Paul Joseph Watson and a handful of the more outré conservative news sources out there — but it’s unclear whether this had anything to do with her firing. If it did, you would think that would have been a pertinent thing for the agency to mention in its tweets.
Oefelein could not be reached for comment for this story.
What we can glean from a few tweets, however, is that this was just a matter of having accounts on platforms that good liberals have decided they Don’t Like™. If you venture too far outside of the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you apparently co-sign the worst excesses of its user base — provided, of course, those excesses are of a right-wing bent.
It’s one thing to be deplatformed from an app. It’s quite another to be deplatformed from your job, to lose your entire clientele and to be publicly flogged by your former firm as being nigh unemployable based on your political opinions.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org