A photo of Juli Briskman giving the middle finger to the president went viral. Her employer was not pleased.
According to the Huffington Post, the picture, snapped by a White House photographer traveling with the president as he left his golf course in Sterling, Va., went viral almost immediately. News outlets picked up the story when it appeared in a White House pool report. Late-night talk show hosts told jokes about the encounter and people on social media began hailing the unidentified woman as a “she-ro,” using the hashtag #Her2020.
The woman’s name is Juli Briskman. Her employer, government contractor Akima LLC, wasn’t so happy about the photo. They fired her over it.
In a Saturday interview with HuffPost, Briskman, a 50-year-old mother of two, said she was stunned that someone had taken a picture of her giving Trump the middle finger.
As the photo circulated online, Briskman decided to tell Akima’s HR department what was happening when she went to work on Monday. By Tuesday, her bosses called her into a meeting and said she had violated the company’s social media policy by using the photo as her profile picture on Twitter and Facebook.
“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 at Akima for just over six months, said she emphasized to the executives that she wasn’t on the job when the incident happened and that her social media pages don’t mention her employer. They told her that because Akima was a government contractor, the photo could hurt their business, she said.
Virginia is an employment-at-will state, meaning employers can fire people anytime and for any reason. But Briskman said what’s been particularly infuriating is that a male colleague kept his job after recently posting lewd comments on his Facebook page that featured Akima LLC as his cover photo. She said this colleague was reprimanded for calling someone “a fucking Libtard asshole” on Facebook, but was allowed to delete the post and keep his job.
“How is that any less ‘obscene’ than me flipping off the president?” she asked. “How is that fair?”
Akima did not respond to requests for comment via email and phon