When Juli Briskman happened across the presidential motorcade last weekend while bike riding, she took the opportunity to express herself by way of a middle finger. After the photo, captured by a White House photographer traveling with the president, went viral, she lost her job with government contractor Akima, LLC.
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.’”
The 50-year-old mother of two noted to executives that she had been off the clock when the incident occurred and her social media profile made no mention of her employer, but Briskman said she was informed the photo could hurt business due to Akima being a government contractor.
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.
HuffPost asked what inspired her hand gesture as the motorcade passed:
“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.”
In the end, Briskman does not regret her decision.
“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.”