WASHINGTON (CBS News) The cyclist who’s garnered some social media fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade has been fired from her job as a result of the obscene gesture.
Juli Briskman was cycling on her usual path in Northern Virginia on Halloween when the president’s black SUVs pulled up alongside her. A White House news photographer was trailing behind to immortalize the moment.
The photo quickly went viral, and Briskman featured the photo on her Facebook and Twitter pages.
And she also notified her employer, government contractor Akima LLC, that she was the bird-flipping biker. Management at the Herndon, Virginia, marketing and communications company pulled her aside, pointed out a section of the firm’s social media policy banning obscenity in employee social media accounts and fired her. She was then escorted out of the building, according to The Washington Post.
“I wasn’t even at work when I did that,” Briskman told The Post. “But they told me I violated the code of conduct policy.”
Her bosses explained that while they support her First Amendment rights, they wanted her to “be professional,” she said.
Nothing Briskman was wearing on her bike ride connected her to Akima, and her face is not shown in the photo, which shows her from the back. There is also no link to the company on her social media profiles, where she posted the photo.
Briskman did not respond to an inquiry from CBS News.
To complicate matters, while Briskman was in charge of Akima’s social media presence, prior to the middle finger incident, she came across a public Facebook comment made by a senior director at the company regarding Black Lives Matter, the Post also reported.
“You’re a f*****g Libtard a*****e,” he commented in an otherwise civil conversation from a profile that clearly labels him as an Akima employee.
The person on the receiving end of the harsh words even challenged the director for the way he was representing his company.
Even after Briskman flagged the interaction for senior management, that executive kept his job.
Briskman told the Post that her impromptu gesture came out of frustration with Mr. Trump’s actions as president, and so she gave him a middle-finger-salute before turning off from her normal bike route.
“Here’s what was going through my head that day: ‘Really? You’re golfing again?”” she told The Post.
Briskman has since contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about the case, according to The Post, and although she was fired, she does not regret the small resistance.
“I’d do it again,” she said.