A woman who says she was fired from her job after being photographed giving the finger to President Donald Trump’s motorcade is receiving an unexpected severance pay, thanks to thousands of online supporters. A GoFundMe page set up for Juli Briskman had raised more than $72,000 as of Tuesday morning. Briskman was abruptly terminated last month after expressing disapproval of the commander in chief. “Juli Briskman is an inspiration to us all,” wrote Rob Mello, who created the GoFundMe campaign that lists Briskman as a beneficiary. More than 3,100 people have made donations through the page.
Whether you’re a supporter of Donald Trump…or hate him with the fiery passion of a thousand supernovas, the 1st Amendment protects the right of an American to do exactly what Juli Briskman did. From where I sit, she was merely doing what millions of us would undoubtedly do under similar circumstances.
There’s a lot of anger in this country; all Ms. Briskman was doing was giving voice to her disdain for the most unfit, unqualified, immature, and narcissistic President in our nation’s history. I suspect it had to feel pretty good at the time.
Briskman, a 50-year-old mother of two, spoke with HuffPost shortly after the incident and said her former employer, Akima LLC, accused her of violating its social media policy because she posted a photo of her showing her middle finger to the presidential motorcade to Facebook and Twitter.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,‘” she recalled to HuffPost. “Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.’”
Unfortunately for Ms. Briskman, her employer took a much less sanguine approach to her gesture and fired her for it. The matter might have ended there, except for what she saw as a blatantly unequal application of the company’s social media policy.
Briskman later told NBC’s Megyn Kelly that she is speaking out about what happened because she witnessed another Akima employee simply receive a warning for posting vulgar language on Facebook.
“I don’t think it was right,” she said. “They clearly treated me differently, it was not equal application of their social media policy.”
She said “no” when asked if she regrets giving Trump the finger.
“I think we have a big problem in this country,” she said to the audience’s applause.
Could it be that she offended a Trump supporter in a powerful position who then decided to punish her? Another employee receives a warning for posting vulgar language on Facebook, and Ms. Briskman is terminated for her gesture? I’d love to hear how that’s being rationalized…but guess what? Her employer’s hypocrisy may well be coming back to bite them in their collective butt…and the more than $60,000 coming her way will ease the landing for a single mother.
Ms. Briskman is right when she says “we have a big problem in this country.” That problem, as Akima LLC has demonstrated, is a decided intolerance for opposing viewpoints. Her termination had nothing to do with her job performance and most likely everything to do with her exercising her 1st Amendment rights. Those who fail to genuflect towards a hypocrite/racist/sexual predator may suffer the consequences of exercising their 1st Amendment rights. That Ms. Briskman was fired for expressing herself as she did demonstrates how much Akima, like the rest of corporate America, is devoted to the Far Right agenda of Donald Trump.
Nice work, America.