So much fuss has been made about protecting our Second Amendment rights to bear arms, but whatever happened to freedom of speech? Apparently the First Amendment doesn’t protect American citizens, particularly single moms who decide to give Donald Trump the middle finger.
Juli Briskman, 50, became a viral sensation in October 2017 after she was snapped flipping off President Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike near her home in Sterling, Virginia.
When the single mother’s employer, Akima, caught wind of the photo, they reportedly forced her to resign just a few days later. Briskman, however, is fighting back against the construction engineering company.
The Daily Mail cites on Wednesday the mother-of-two filed a suit against the government contractor, arguing it had violated Virginia employment law.
“I filed this lawsuit against my former employer today because I believe that Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks,’ Briskman said in a statement.
‘I never imagined that my “one-finger salute” to the Presidential motorcade and its occupant would cost me my job.’
Briskman claims she was pulled aside at work and told she violated her company’s social media policy by posting the image on her Facebook and Twitter.
Briskman, however, notes in her lawsuit that she does not mention her association with Akima anywhere on her social media pages.
She notes the same punishment was not bestowed upon Akima’s Senior Director of Operations after he allegedly wrote ‘You’re a f*****g Libtard as*****e’ in a Facebook discussion about Black Lives Matter.
According to Briskman’s lawsuit, in the senior director’s Facebook profile he identified himself as an Akima employee, however, he was allowed to delete the comment and keep his job.
Briskman claims that she was forced to resign because Akima was afraid of ‘upsetting the federal government, not the supposed obscenity of the middle finger.’
“Working for a company that does business with the federal government should provide you with greater opportunities, but it should never limit your ability to criticize that government in your private time,” she said.
“The actions of my company were swift and unexpected. It is un-American to let the government use your own tax dollars to buy your off-duty obedience.”
Rights and responsibilities
Briskman’s attorneys argue that her gesture is protected by the First Amendment.
“Juli’s expression of disapproval of the President is fundamental political speech protected by both the United States Constitution and Virginia state law,” Maria Simon said in a statement.
“Ms Briskman chose in her private time and in her capacity as a private citizen to express her disapproval of President Trump by extending her middle finger.”
In November, Briskman revealed that she decided to give Trump the finger because it was the “only way I had to give him the message that I wanted to give.”
In a television interview with Today’s Megyn Kelly, she explained, “All my frustration with this administration just welled up inside me,” adding…“It felt great.”
After Briskman was forced to resign, supporters raised $57,000 to help during her unemployment.
A man named Rob Mello started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Briskman, which has surpassed its $100,000 goal. On the page, Briskman says, “Through your generous donations. Heavy burdens have been lifted. Thank-you.”
Shoot, maybe we should all flip Trump the bird!