You are probably aware of the story of Juli Briskman who flipped off the Trump motorcade. As explained in a Guardian article …
Juli Briskman was cycling in Virginia last month when she offered the gesture in a gut reaction to Trump’s policies, she said.
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” she told the Huffington Post. “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.”
A photographer traveling with the presidential motorcade snapped Briskman’s picture and the image quickly spread across news outlets and social media. Many hailed Briskman as a hero, with some saying she should run in the 2020 election. Late-night comedy hosts also picked up the story.
She Got Fired from her Job
What happened next is quite frankly astonishing …
Briskman had been working as a marketing and communications specialist for a Virginia-based federal contractor, Akima, for six months. She thought it best to alert the HR department to the online fuss. Bosses then called her into a meeting, she said.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,’” Briskman told the Huffington Post. “‘Basically, you cannot have lewd or obscene things in your social media.’ So they were calling flipping him off obscene.”
She said the company was displeased she had used the image as her profile picture on Twitter and Facebook, and told her it violated social media policy and could hurt the company’s reputation as a government contractor.
What was utterly absurd about this is that her personal social media pages were just her’s and did not mention the name of the organisation that she worked for, hence the Akima claim that it “hurt the company’s reputation” is absurd.
There is something else that makes this firing truly obnoxious. They had a recent incident where a male employee said something truly abhorrent about somebody on social media, and yet he gets to keep his job while she gets fired. So apparently their social media policy only applies if you are guilty of the crime of being female.
Can they legally fire her?
Basically yes. In Virgina they have “at will” employment laws. That means you can quit or be fired for no reason at all. It’s an artefact from the 19th century that became common in most states. Over the course of the 20th century most states modified and updated such laws.
What has actually seriously damaged the reputation of Akima is the news that they fired her, if they had not done so then this would not have happened to them …
The Facebook page of Akima was carpeted with obscene gestures. Folks posted pictures and GIFs of middle-finger salutes, from photoshopped (Mr. Rogers, the Queen Mum, Jesus Christ) to real (Stephen Colbert, a gorilla).
Flipping off the presidential motorcade is not new. Back in 2015 a chap flipped off the Obama motorcade and (gasp!), that was it, nothing else happened because it was not a big deal.
What else has happened to Juli?
She used to have 24 twitter followers. That has changed, she now has over 17,600
To her complete astonishment somebody set up a Thank You Juli Briskman GoFundMe account. It has received over $52,000 so far …
Juli Briskman is an inspiration to us all. This week we learned that she was fired from her employer for exercising her first amendment rights.
You can show your support by donating here.
I have connected with Juli and she has been officially setup as the beneficiary on this GoFundMe campaign.
All proceeds are being donated directly to Juli. As the campaign beneficiary, she will be able to post updates and comments, so stay tuned!
She has been bombarded with interview requests from all around the world — The Washington Post reports that TMZ sent a reporter to stand in the pouring rain to plead for time with her.
Everybody has also been talking about her over the office cooler.
Some of the responses have been exactly what you would expect from Trump devotees
As you might perhaps guess, some devotees within the Trump Cult have been expressing their views about somebody who dared to disrespect the great leader in the traditional Trump style that we have come to expect and anticipate.
Columnist Petula Dvorak wrote the story up in the Washington Post and reports that this happened …
Briskman took plenty of flack too. And so did I. More than 9,000 people commented on my column. And because Briskman is a she, the deluge that blasted my inbox was a fire hose of misogynistic hatred. I was bombed by emails laced with sex and violence. Men — I would guess they were mostly older, given the Rogers and Franks who were taking time out of their retirements to spew words they’d never say in front of their grandkids — were issuing all kinds of judgments on Briskman’s body too.
The discussion could have focused on civil liberties, freedom of speech, the appropriate control an employer should have over employees. These are definitely worth debating.
Instead, sadly, many of the arguments boiled down to the stale, knee-jerk, pro-Trump or anti-Trump, us-vs.-them that now taints most of our national conversation.
Her interviews are available online …
Has she had any Job Offers?
Disrespecting the idiot-in-chief is a sentiment that the majority of voters can emphasis with because they feel exactly the same, and so you might perhaps anticipate that the news that she was fired for this might motivate a couple of job offers.
Has that happened?
Actually yes it has, in a very big way. ExtraNewsFeed reports that …
Well yes, ExtraNewsFeed is a satire site, so don’t get too excited.
I don’t honestly know if she has had any job offers, but I’d not be surprised to discover that she has had a few.
Being fired her for expressing a political position outside of work on her own time is quite frankly absurd, and that is especially true when she has not in any way identified who her employer was. Additionally it was not staged, but instead was wholly spontaneous and perhaps also reflects a feeling that over half the US population feels.
The identification of her employer came about, not due to her specific actions, but instead because they chose to terminate her services, and if that should impact their business, then it is very much their own doing.
One Last thought – Cycling in America – Guidance
So remember folks, when out on your bike, you should give clear distinct hand gestures to ensure that you remain safe.