Last weekend, a photo of Juli Briskman giving the middle finger to Donald Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike went viral — and now her employer has fired her because of it.
Briskman was cycling along her usual rout in Virginia last weekend when Trump’s motorcade happened to pass by. The 50-year-old marketing executive gave the black SUVs the finger as they drove along — an act caught on camera by photographer Brandan Smialowski, according to the Washington Post. The photo of her protest quickly went viral.
On Halloween, in an attempt to get ahead of her employer finding out that she was the woman in the picture, Briskman told her bosses at the government contracting firm Akima LLC and was promptly fired.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you.'” Briskman told HuffPost. “Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.'”
She was told that the snap — which Briskman made her profile picture on Twitter and Facebook — violated Akima’s social media policy, even though she didn’t have the company listed as her place of work anywhere on either platform. She said that she emphasized to the company that she wasn’t working when the photo was taken but was told, as a government contractor, Akima’s business could be hurt by the shot.
Akima has not returned a request for comment.
As part of her communications position with the firm, Briskman was in charge of managing Akima’s social media accounts during her six-month stint there. While in this role, Briskman said she flagged a colleague’s lewd comment on another employee’s post about Black Lives Matter, the Washington Postreported.
Briskman’s own form of protest against the President was a spur-of-the-moment choice she made while thinking about what she considers to be Trump’s poor behavior and job performance.
“Here’s what was going through my head that day: ‘Really? You’re golfing again?'” Briskman told WaPo.
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” she said to HuffPost. “I’m thinking DACA recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one-third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, ‘he’s at the damn golf course again.'”
“I flipped off the motorcade a number of times,” she said.
Briskman has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about her case, according to WaPo, and although she lost her job over that one reflexive moment, she doesn’t seem to regret her decision.
“I’d do it again,” she told WaPo.
“In some ways, I’m doing better than ever,” Briskman said to HuffPost. “I’m angry about where our country is right now, I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”
We need to figure out if anyone set up a GoFundMe on her behalf, because Juli is a true patriot! If you find a link, love muffins, be sure to drop it in our comments either on the site or via Facebook.