Therese Duke, the white woman who was involved in an altercation with a Black female security guard the night before the Capitol riots, has lost her job after her daughter exposed her on social media.
Earlier this week, a viral video swirled the Internet which showed footage of Duke and a group of pro-Trump protestors harassing Ashanti Smith, a security guard working at Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C. She was handling a protest the night before the breach of the Capitol. In the video, things quickly escalate between the women after Duke tries to grab Smith’s phone. Smith proceeds to punch Duke in the face once, leaving her bloodied. After the incident, Smith reported that she lost her job and was now facing criminal charges.
Duke’s daughter, Helena, revealed her mother’s identity. She called out the hypocrisy of her mom admonishing her for wanting to attend Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, only to get caught up in the chaos of pro-Trump demonstrations. She has been one of many to denounce her mother’s involvement in the protest. In an interview with CBC Radio show, As It Happens, Helena said her mom had been let go from her job as a healthcare provider at UMass Memorial Health Care hospital in Worcester, Mass. because of her involvement.
She said her employment was severed “because she does work at a hospital, and she obviously went to a protest with many people and she wasn’t wearing a mask.”
In an audible portion of the interview, Helena contextualized her mother’s behavior in the protests. According to her, even though her mother had been a Democrat for the majority of her life, Therese began feeding into misinformation during Trump’s time in office.
“She actually has been a Democrat her whole life up until the Trump presidency. And it was unsettling seeing how quickly she had changed to a radically right ideology,” Helena, who identifies as a “liberal lesbian,” told As It Happens. “The things that she was saying really didn’t make sense. A lot of them were conspiracy theories, almost a delusional kind of mindset. And I think it was just her belief system entirely was focused around what President Trump was saying.”
UMass Memorial seemingly confirmed her firing. Even though they didn’t refer to Therese by name, in a statement from Jan. 8 the hospital explained that one of their employees had been fired due to their association with the protests.
The hospital’s statement read, “Over the past 24 hours we have received numerous expressions of concern through social media regarding a UMass Memorial caregiver who many have been involved in this week’s violent event at the nation’s capitol. The employee in question is no longer a part of our organization.”
As for Smith, since her firing, a GoFundMe page set up to help her with possible legal fees has raised more than $173,000 in five days.