WASHINGTON ― You may have seen this photo of President Donald Trump’s motorcade winding down a wooded road last week as a woman on a bicycle pedaled by ― giving the middle finger to Trump.
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 phone.
Asked what she was thinking when she saw Trump’s motorcade roll up next to her, Briskman said it was a gut reaction to flip him off.
“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.”
“I flipped off the motorcade a number of times,” she added.
Briskman, a Democrat, said she plans to look for a new job with an advocacy group that she believes in, like Planned Parenthood or PETA.
Despite getting fired, she said she has no regrets about the attention her public show of displeasure with Trump received. In fact, she said she’s happy to be an image of protest that resonates with many Americans.
“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.”
UPDATE: 11:54 a.m. Monday ― Akima’s website went down later Monday. Here’s a screenshot.
UPDATE: 11:41 a.m. Tuesday ― Briskman’s friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help her raise money while she looks for a new job.
Louise Boudrias, the Gatineau city councillor for the district of Parc-de-la-Montagne-Saint-Raymond, died on Sunday at the age of 62. Born in Aylmer, Boudrias had been a Gatineau councillor since 2014, winning her last election with nearly 70 per cent of the vote. Boudrias was a former teacher at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa, and a former director of Collège Merici in Quebec City. In January, she withdrew from public life for an indefinite period after being diagnosed with cancer. During her tim
The Ontario government says forest fires have dwindled dramatically this year compared with last year, when fires tore through a record amount of land in the province. Evan Lizotte, a fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources, says there have been 179 fires this year so far, which have burned 2,416 hectares of land. He says that's compared with more than 1,000 forest fires and more than 782,119 hectares burned by the same time last year -- the most land burned on record in
After moving around the continent for years, a military family is putting roots down, literally, in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. Krista Adams' husband Brad was posted in Colorado when the two decided they wanted to move back to Nova Scotia — they fell in love with the province during Brad's previous postings at CFB Greenwood. "We were just kind of done with moving around," Adams said in an interview with CBC's Information Morning Monday. In August 2020, the couple bought a house in Avonport s
More human remains were found Sunday in the same area where police have searched for missing Saint John man Kyle LeBlanc. On Friday evening, a hiker called police after he discovered human remains in the heavily wooded area between Lakewood Heights and Golden Grove Road. On Sunday, Saint John police, River Valley and York Sunbury ground search and rescue teams expanded the search area and found more human remains, said Staff Sgt. Sean Rocca. Rocca said it's not clear if the two sets of remains a
Since July, Dmitry Vorobiova, 39, his partner Olena, 36, and their dog have been living with 64-year-old Michael Glover, a software engineer who had extra space in his six-bedroom house after his wife passed away. Strangers before, Glover and the Ukrainian couple have together built a quiet routine in the three-story house in his small town in eastern New Hampshire: Dmitry and Glover jog in the evenings and occasionally the two cook Glover grilled chicken for dinner. Glover's house - now a refuge for the couple, who fled their home in Kharkiv, Ukraine - is a part of a local "sponsor circle," a program that started last year to support evacuated Afghans following the U.S. military's chaotic withdrawal, that has recently expanded to help Ukrainians fleeing Russia's invasion of their country.
Seven U.S. Western states that share Colorado River water are poised to miss a federal deadline for drastic consumption cuts amid a megadrought. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in June gave the states 60 days, until mid-August, to devise a plan as human-influenced climate change worsens the region's driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years. While officials had given the states 60 days to negotiate an agreement, the firm deadline was seen as Tuesday, when officials with the reclamation bureau were scheduled to release their projections for Colorado's two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell.
Back in the U.S., days after the FBI search for top secret files at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's potential legal problems seem to keep piling up. The former president now claims authorities seized executive-privileged material and is demanding them back. While a spokesperson has said that Trump had a standing order that documents taken to his Florida home were deemed "declassified." As Jennifer Johnson reports, those claims aren't holding up.
Quebec's workplace health and safety board has ordered a food-processing company north of Montreal to reimburse two temporary foreign workers for charging them excess rent. The board told the company in July it had to pay the workers $3,800 each in housing costs it had deducted from their paycheques since May 2021. The workers say that last spring, the company asked them to sign a contract raising their rent from $225 to $300 per pay period. A number of the 48 temporary foreign workers from Mada
While inflation may be hurting ordinary Quebecers' pocketbooks, it's done the opposite for a provincial government that has seen its projected deficit shrink by billions of dollars, according to a report released Monday ahead of the fall election campaign. The government's projected finances are "plausible" despite global economic uncertainty that threatens to darken the rosy picture, said auditor general Guylaine Leclerc, who was tasked with reviewing a pre-election financial report by Quebec's
After a two-year break, wood carvers got a chance to show off their artistic talent in Saint Andrews. The 15th annual New Brunswick Wood Carving Competition welcomed carvers from around the province this weekend, and from as far away as British Columbia and Alabama. Like most other events, the competition took a two-year break because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gord Willett, an organizer with the New Brunswick Woodcarving Association, said the competition is likely the second largest one in Canad
Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crime Unit is investigating a homicide involving a man who was found deceased at a residence in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. RCMP said the residents will notice an increased police presence in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, some 67 kilometres west of Prince Albert, over the next few days as officers continue to investigate in the community. RCMP have not released any other details at this time. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact Ahtahkakoop RCMP at
Prices of homes in New Brunswick are rising at a steady pace while large declines are reported in Canadian cities to the west, according to newly released statistics. In a report Monday, the Canadian Real Estate Association said the average home price was $629,971 in July, compared with June's average price of $665,850. The drop is steeper when the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas are removed from the figures. However, in the Atlantic region, prices are mostly continuing to rise but at a slow
Volunteers and an environmental organization have come together to help protect the scenic South Shore town of Mahone Bay from rising sea levels and storm surges caused by climate change. A pilot project 'living shoreline' was installed along a 60-metre stretch of Edgewater Street in front of the town's iconic three churches. it was led by Mahone Bay-based environmental organization Coastal Action. Samantha Battaglia, the climate change team lead at Coastal Action, told CBC Radio's Mainstreet NS
MOSCOW (AP) — Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drug possession, Russian news agencies reported Monday, amid talks between the U.S. and Russia that could lead to a high-profile prisoner swap. Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s S
When the bell rang at the Old Holy Trinity Church in Middleton, N.S., on Sunday, it was no ordinary toll. It marked the 231st anniversary of the first congregation held at the historic church on Aug. 14, 1791. The church is one of the oldest, and largely unaltered, churches of its kind in Canada, according to Brian McConnell, chair of the Old Holy Trinity Heritage Trust. The church was active until 1893, when a new church was built in the community. Despite no longer being the main church of the