A Virginia woman was fired from her job after a photo of her flipping off Donald Trump’s motorcade went viral. During an interview with the Huffington Post, Juli Briskman, 50, said that she had been let go from her government contractor job at Akima LLC. The photo was taken outside Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Virginia, on Halloween evening. After the photo began to spread, Briskman contacted her employers to let them know that she was the cyclist in the photo, giving a middle finger to Trump’s row of SUVs. When asked by the Washington Post if she regretted her action, Briskman, a mother to two teenagers, said, “I’d do it again.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Briskman Says a Director at Her Company Called Someone a ‘F***ing Libtard A**hole’ on Facebook This Past Summer
The Washington Post reports that one of Briskman’s roles at Akima was to be in charge of the company’s Facebook page. During this work, Briskman found a senior company director discussing the Black Lives Matter movement. Briskman said the director wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post to another person, “You’re a f***ing Libtard a**hole.” She adds that the director was easily identifiable as an employee of Akima. According to Briskman’s account, when she alerted management about the post, the director was afforded the opportunity to clean up his Facebook posting and to carry on working for the company.
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 including termination of employment.
2. Briskman Said that Her Employers Told Her, ‘We’re Separating From You’
Akima’s human resource department told Briskman in a meeting that her posting the photo on Facebook and Twitter was in violation of the company’s social media policy. That’s according to an interview Briskman gave to the Huffington Post on November 4. Briskman told the website, “They said, ‘We’re separating from you.’ Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.'”
State law in Virginia indicates that employers can fire employees at any time for any reason. Going forward, Briskman says that she may look for a new job at Planned Parents or “an advocacy group that she believes in,” reports the Huffington Post. Briskman told the Washington Post that she is working with the ACLU in a case against her former employers.
3. In Addition to Her Government Contractor Work, Briskman Is a Sunday School Teacher
On her LinkedIn page, Briskman says that she is a graduate of Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. In addition, Briskman is a volunteer at Galilee United Methodist Church where she is a Sunday school teacher and a volunteer at Horizon Elementary School. That page says that Briskman has worked at Akima since April 2017. Prior to that Briskman spent eight years working in the U.S. State Department between 2001 and 2009. During that time, she was based in Kazakhstan and Latvia. In terms of politics, Briskman told the Washington Post, “I think I gave money for clean water once.” Briskman also said that she participated in the Women’s March after Trump’s inauguration, standing outside with CIA building with a sign that said, “Not my President.”
Briskman also teaches yoga part-time, reports the Washington Post. The studio that she works at has been getting threatening phone calls she says. “They told the owner of the studio she should fire me.” Briskman has since removed references to the studio from her social media page.
When asked about her reasons for flipping off the president, Briskman told the Huffington Post, “He was passing by and my blood just started to boil. 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.” Briskman added, “In some ways, I’m doing better than ever. I’m angry about where our country is right now. I am apalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”
4. Akima Was a Contributor to Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign
The company was founded in Hendon, Virginia, in 2012. The company says it is a leader in “information technology products and services, data communications, systems and sofware engineering, facilities management and outfitting, cyber security, space operations, aviation, construction, fabrication and logistics.”
5. Understandably, Briskman Has Become a Hero to Some on Twitter & a Villain to Others
Since the photo went viral, Briskman has become a hero to some on Twitter and a villain to others. Here are some who took the hero stance:
While others were not so supportive: