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A female firefighter in Montana is suing her former department after she says she was fired over pictures posted to her Instagram account.
Presley Pritchard, a former firefighter paramedic, filed a wrongful termination suit alleging she was let go from her job in August after being “directly targeted due to how I looked in my gym attire,” among other things. Her lawsuit also accuses her superiors of gender discrimination, the Daily Inter Lake reports.
Pritchard, a 27-year-old influencer, promotes her fitness lifestyle to her 135,000 Instagram followers.
But her Instagram created friction with her job, Pritchard alleges. In 2018, Jake Fallon, a member of the Evergreen Fire District Board, raised concerns about the account. According to Fox News, a board member received an email from a “concerned taxpayer” about Pritchard’s posts, which they said were too racy.
Pritchard told Vice that concerns about her Instagram continued over the following year.
“It was just ongoing — they would call me in for everything,” she said at the time. “It was just always like walking on eggshells there.”
Pritchard told Vice she was reprimanded nearly two dozen times for issues involving her Instagram, including comments on what she wore to the gym and other photos on her personal page. While most of Pritchard’s images feature here in workout clothes, others show her in bathing suits, eating, snowboarding, or shooting guns.
Despite the backlash she faced, Pritchard says her male colleagues—who participated in similar online behavior—were never punished or harassed.
“It’s just really, really hypocritical,” she told Vice.
Pritchard’s lawsuit alleges she was fired after being asked to remove several photos of her in her firefighter uniform because her superiors said it blurred the line between her work and personal brand. Her lawyer, however, told Pritchard she didn’t need to remove the images since the department had no social media policy.
She was ultimately let go for not removing the images. Her lawsuit—which was filed in December—is reportedly still underway, Yahoo! Lifestyle reports.
Alexandra Samuels is a political reporter at the Texas Tribune and contributor to the Daily Dot, where she started as an intern covering politics in the summer of 2016. She enjoys Marvel movies, baking, and reading murder-mystery novels.