Katrina Montanez was fired for sharing a video showing Gov. Pete Ricketts maskless inside an Omaha sports bar.
Montanez posted the video on Snapchat on November 3rd before sharing it on Twitter. Hours later, her boss called her to tell her she was fired.
She told USA TODAY: "Even though it did cost me my job, I could have easily saved a lot of people's lives and, clearly, I wasn't wrong for recording the video because soon after, he's in quarantine. My gut feeling was right in every sense that night."
In the video, Ricketts is seen in a group of about 10 people, with only one individual wearing a mask. He was also holding a baby at some point.
"Hey Pete, where's your mask? Where's your mask, Pete? What are you doing, Pete? We're in a pandemic, Pete," Montanez says in the video.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the governor was attending an election party for Republican senator-elect Rita Sanders. Seven days later, a statement from Ricketts’ office announced that the governor and his wife were quarantining after they came into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Montanez stated that she was upset Ricketts was "walking around and acting like a celebrity taking pictures with people while there's literal people dying and fighting for their lives."
"I wanted to show people, 'Hey guys, look at our governor who doesn't want to put a mask mandate on our state. Look how he's acting during this pandemic while nurses are literally begging him for anything and everything because they're exhausted,'" she added.
CEO of DJ's Dugout, Sunni Renner, states that Montanez was fired for posting "a video to social media, which was taken while that employee was actively on duty for DJ’s Dugout and constitutes a violation of DJ’s Dugout’s written social media and cell phone policies provided in DJ’s Dugout’s Employee Handbook."
In a statement, Taylor Gage, Ricketts' director of strategic communications, stated that Ricketts had been wearing a mask when he entered and left the premises, but that he "removes his mask temporarily for pictures and did so that evening.”
Ricketts has been against the mask mandate, and he stated while still in quarantine: "They create resistance. Masks are just a tool, not the only tool, (and) they are not a panacea to solve all the problems."
Instead, he urged wearing masked indoors or when it is impossible to physically maintain social distancing.
Montanez is searching for a new job to support her and her 4-year-old daughter, and stated that she was offered support on Twitter, and that some called her a "hero."
Sources: America Now