After a Democratic woman was fired from her job for breaching a social media contract, news of the incident was widely reported on Monday, primarily because the incident in question involved flipping the bird at the president of the United States.
On Monday night, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert threw his hat in the ring in defense of the woman.
The incident occurred last month, as President Donald J. Trump was leaving his Virginia golf course. Juli Briskman, a 50-year-old marketing executive, happened to be riding her bike alongside his motorcade. Making a snap, gut decision, she raised her middle finger in that tried and true gesture of defiance and anger. By her own account, Briskman flipped the president off several times.
A photographer captured one of the “salutes” and the popular image went viral last week. Briskman even used it as her profile picture on Facebook and Twitter, which was the real catalyst for her firing.
Akima LLC, a government contractor, fired Briskman after she told them she was the person pictured. The “lewd” and “obscene” gesture was a violation of their social media policy, due to her proudly displaying the image while having an association with the company.
Colbert defended Briskman, making several jokes normalizing the gesture and behavior.
Colbert said, “No one has summed up the [anti-Trump] mood of the country better than a cyclist who went viral last week for giving the president’s motorcade the finger. Long may she wave.”
“Her name is Juli Briskman,” Colbert continued, “and she just got fired for flipping off Trump’s motorcade. Wait a second, if you can’t give people the finger in traffic, then what’s the point of driving? That’s how we say hello in New York! Especially if you’re from out of town. Hey, welcome to Manhattan.”
After describing the reasons given for her firing, Colbert excused Briskman’s contract violation, saying, “Hey, if you’re not supposed [to] be lewd on social media, then how come the middle finger emoji has five different colors? Truly, we’re living Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s dream.”
You may watch a video of Colbert’s comments below.