Juli Briskman, a 50-year-old single mother-of-two, told Huffington Post her employer, government contractor Akima LLC, fired her after she told them she was the woman in the photo.
She had no idea she was being photographed by a Getty journalist and when she saw the image go viral she decided to tell her company’s HR department.
The following day, her bosses called her into a meeting and fired her for violating their social media policy even though she had nothing to do with the Getty photograph going viral.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,‘” said Briskman. “Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.’”
Briskman, who worked in marketing and communications for the company for six months, insisted that she was not on the job when the incident occurred and her social media pages don’t mention Akima.
According to The Washington Post, the company policy says, “Covered Social Media Activity that contains discriminatory, obscene malicious or threatening content, is knowingly false, create [sic] a hostile work environment, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to an [sic] including termination of employment.”
She was told that because they are a government contractor, the image could affect their business.
Briskman said she is furious because a coworker was allowed to keep his job after calling someone a “f*cking libtard asshole” on Facebook.
“How is that any less ‘obscene’ than me flipping off the president?” she asked. “How is that fair?”
Attorney Bradley Shear told the Post that she probably should not have told her employer about the image.
“You can’t see her face; she is totally unidentified in that picture,” he said. “But once she identified herself to her employer, they had to consider that information.”
Briskman explained it was an instinctual reaction to flip Trump off when he passed her while she was riding her bike.
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” she said. “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 added.
“I’d do it again,” Briskman told The Washington Post.
Briskman, a proud Democrat, told Huffington Post that she wants to find a new job at an organization she believes in, like Planned Parenthood or PETA.
“In some ways, I’m doing better than ever,” she said. “I’m angry about where our country is right now. I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”
She added that she has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about the case.