If you had the opportunity to flip off Donald Trump, would you?
Many of us, myself included, would say yes—and on Oct. 28, one woman did. Juli Briskman of Sterling, VA was cycling near Trump’s golf course when she passed his motorcade and shared a small salute. She was fired from her job two days later.
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” Briskman told 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.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Brendan Smialowski caught the moment. “As members of the White House traveling pool, AFP photographers are always with the president,” he wrote on AFP's website. Gestures and even protests are not uncommon, Smialowski added, but Briskman’s persistence caught his attention.
“[The picture shows] when the motorcycle passed her the first time. It then blocked her way, as is normal for all traffic that it passes,” Smialowski explained. “So she went up on the sidewalk, caught up with us, hopped back on the road when it was stopped at a red light and then pedaled to the front, sharing her gesture with most vehicles a second time.”
Smialowski’s picture went viral immediately, and many started naming Briskman a national hero, even giving her a hashtag (#Her2020). But Akima LLC, a government contracting firm where Briskman worked as a marketing executive, didn’t exactly agree.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,” Briskman recalled to the Huffington Post. “You cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.’” She also pointed out the hypocrisy that recently, her male coworker was allowed to keep his job after a screenshot in which he called another colleague a “fucking Libtard asshole” circulated.
“How is that any less obscene than me flipping off the president?” she asked. “I’m angry about where our country is right now. I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”
Photo via Youtube.
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Lydia Wang is a writer, BUST intern, pug enthusiast, and hopeless romantic. She lives in New York and overshares on Twitter: @lydiaetc.