LOS ANGELES (CN) – A former substitute teacher says in court that she should not have been fired for explaining in a taped interview that she joined an Occupy L.A. rally because “Zionist Jews” are running the banks and should be “run out of” America.
Patricia McAllister says she was approached for an interview while protesting public education budget cuts at the Occupy rally in front of City Hall on Oct. 12, 2011. At the time, the 60 year old worked as a substitute teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“When explaining why she was at the rally, plaintiff stated that ‘I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our federal reserve, which are not run by the federal government, they need to be run out of this country,'” McAllister says in Superior Court.
Video of McAllister’s interview with Reason TV, an offshoot of the libertarian magazine Reason, soon went viral.
McAllister says that she received anonymous phone calls a couple of days later from people outraged by her comments, which had been “widely viewed” on YouTube.
“During this weekend, the plaintiff viewed the video over the internet and saw in comments posted with the video statements urging persons to call LAUSD and demand that the plaintiff be fired and providing the telephone, number for LAUSD,” the lawsuit states, abbreviating the school district’s name.
McAllister says she was fired on Oct. 18, 2011, and Superintendent John Deasy distanced the school district from her comments in a statement announcing her termination, according to the lawsuit.
The district denied her subsequent claim for damages late last year, McCallister says.
Alleging that the school district and Deasy violated her free speech rights under the First Amendment, McAllister wants a judge to order her reinstatement.
She also wants punitive damages for wrongful termination, deprivation of rights under the California Constitution and U.S. Constitution, breach of implied contract, bad faith, and emotional distress.
McAllister is represented by Julie Esposito of Monrovia, Calif., a participating attorney for the Rutherford Institute. The Rutherford Institute is a Virginia-based nonprofit, originally founded to defend religious liberties.