The woman who organized an awareness campaign that came under fire for featuring two airmen breastfeeding while in uniform has been fired from her civilian job as an X-ray technician, her lawyer tells Yahoo! Shine.
Crystal Scott, an Army veteran, military spouse, and the program director of the Mom2Mom breastfeeding awareness group at Fairchild Air Force Base, was terminated by Schryver Medical, a provider of X-rays, EKGs, ultrasounds, and other medical digital imaging services, on June 1.
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"She was fired due to her passion about the Mom2Mom breastfeeding campaign and speaking out on gender equality and women's rights," Patricia (Pat) K. Buchanan told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on Friday.
Schryver Medical's president, Jay Schryver, told Yahoo! Shine that he planned to issue a statement later on Friday. "This kind of took us by surprise," he said.
The photo that caused the uproar featured two military moms breastfeeding their babies while wearing their Air National Guard uniforms. While many people were supportive of the women's right to breastfeed whenever necessary, others felt that the picture was disrespectful to the military.
Scott -- who served in the Army from 2000 to 2006, including a tour in Iraq, and whose husband is still in the military -- was surprised by the outrage. "I'm an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time," she told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on May 30, the day the controversy ignited. "Granted they're scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely?"
But the breastfeeding campaign may not be the main reason Scott lost her job. Two weeks before those photos became public, Buchanan says, Scott had complained about gender bias at Schryver Medical, where she had been working for about 16 months. Her boss asked her not to file a formal complaint, saying that "he'd handle it," Buchanan says. Two weeks later, Scott was fired.
According to Buchanan, Scott had complained to her supervisor about favoritism toward male employees and condescending statements and name-calling aimed at women in the office. "When she asked to be on the day shift, which she was entitled to by seniority, she was treated very condescendingly and was called names," Buchanan said, including things like "You're a baby" and "You're a woman, you can't go there, it's scary." Still, Scott agreed not to file a formal complaint at the time, in part because "she loved her job," Buchanan says.
The two members of the Air National Guard who appeared in the controversial photo, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna, "violated a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement," the Air Force Times reported.
"The uniform was misused. That's against regulations," Captain Keith Kosik, a spokesman for the Washington National Guard, told the Air Force Times. "I want to be very, very clear about this. Our issue is not, nor has it ever been, about breastfeeding. It has to do with honoring the uniform and making sure it's not misused. I can't wear my uniform to a political rally, to try to sell you something or push an ideology. That was our point of contention."
But Scott's job was with a private employer, which makes her case much less clear.
"She can't file a complaint retroactively, but she can file a lawsuit for gender equality discrimination," Buchanan told Yahoo! Shine. "That decision hasn't been made yet, but it's an option, certainly."
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