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A Cautionary Social Media Tale

Viral photo costs cyclist her job

Why the 'bird-flipping' cyclist lost her job

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Bicyclist Juli Briskman says she got fired for this picture taken of her Oct. 28.

Here’s a cautionary tale about social media that’s worth remembering: A 50-year-old woman was fired recently after she posted a photo of her extending her middle finger to a presidential motorcade while she was riding a bicycle.


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The late October picture, taken by a pool photographer as the motorcade left Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., quickly went viral. The woman riding the bicycle, Juli Briskman, was a marketing executive at government contractor Akima LLC. 

Briskman, who posted the photo as her profile picture on Facebook and Twitter, told HuffPost that she had notified her employer’s human resources department shortly after the incident to tell them about the photo.

Akima’s social media policy prohibits employees from posting lewd or obscene comments or photos on social media, Briskman told HuffPost. The day after she reported the incident, she said she was brought into a meeting and terminated

Briskman’s job included some social media responsibilities, and she told HuffPost that a colleague had been allowed to keep his job despite posting a lewd Facebook comment over the summer, after he deleted the post. Akima did not respond to the HuffPost’s requests for comment, the website stated.

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