Indianz.Com > News > Native man fired over photo with Republican governor
Kristi Noem
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaks to a group at the Main Street Cafe & Market in Chamberlain, South Dakota, on October 28, 2022. Photo: Kristi Noem for Governor
Native man fired over photo with Republican governor
Monday, October 31, 2022

A Native man from Crow Creek, South Dakota, was fired this week after a photo of him making a lewd gesture while standing beside Republican Gov. Kristi Noem went viral.

Stefen Monteau worked as a cook at a cafe that Noem visited recently. Her staff posted the photo of her standing beside Monteau and another woman that became widely shared on social media after people noticed Monteau’s middle finger on his right hand was raised.

Monteau set up a GoFundMe page Monday after he said he was fired from job after customers complained to his boss.

“I’m the guy in the recent viral pic with Governor Kristi Noem,” he wrote in the description for the GoFundMe. “I was terminated from the place I work as of 7am this morning.

“Customers and people complained to the employer that they don’t feel comfortable with me working at the café due to not supporting Kristi Noem, feel that I would spit in there etc…. since I am no longer a cook at the café i’ll be job searching in the meantime,” he continued

Monteau had raised more than $1,600 — out of a requested $3,000 — as of 1pm Eastern on Monday.

Denise Williams, a Facebook user who shared the viral photo, said she suggested to Monteau that he set up the crowd-source funding page to help him cover his monthly bills after he lost his job.

“We also will be boycotting the business because whether Keisti (sic) likes it or not, when did his picture become something other than FREEDOMOF SPEECH?” Williams said.

Noem visited the Main Street Cafe & Market in Chamberlain on the morning of October 28. The business posted photos and a short video of the visit in what was described as “Coffee & Conversation” with the governor.

Noem also shared photos from the stop — although the one with Monteau is no longer visible on her social media.

Chamberlain is situated along the Missouri River, near the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

Noem is running for a second term in office as governor. The election takes place next Tuesday, November 8.

Monteau describes himself on social media as a “conservative” who does not support Noem’s re-election.