Woman's Facebook picture prompts Internet outrage


 (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - An employee of a Cape Cod business has been put on unpaid leave following a Facebook post that some users found offensive.

Director of Living Independently Forever, Diane Enochs, told FOX 25 that 30-year-old Lindsey Stone was put on leave after a number of people complained about a picture posted on her Facebook page. Those complaining posted on the company's Facebook page.

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According to the complaints, the picture depicted Stone at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., making a rude gesture and pretending to scream next to a sign asking for "silence" and "respect." Stone was on a business trip at the time the photo was taken.

Enochs said people had also been calling the organization with complaints about the photo. A number of people had also emailed FOX 25 with complaints. A Facebook page was even created asking that Stone be fired.

A posting on the LIFE Facebook page reads: "On Nov. 19 at approximately 6 p.m., we became aware that one of our employees had posted an offensive, inappropriate photograph on her personal Facebook page. The photo was taken at a national historic site in October by a fellow employee during a trip to Washington, D.C. attended by 40 residents and eight staff. The photo has since been removed from Facebook, and both employees have been placed on unpaid leave pending the results of an internal investigation."

Enochs said no previous complaints had been filed against Stone in the year and a half she's been with the organization.

Enochs added that Stone has been a "good employee." LIFE is conducting an investigation.

Meanwhile, FOX 25's Heather Hegedus spoke with Stone's father at his Plymouth home. He said he was sad and upset and that this is not a reflection of the type of person his daughter is.

He also said that his daughter was sorry and embarrassed because of the situation.

The company also said: "This photograph in no way reflects the opinions or values of the LIFE organization, which holds our nation's veterans in the highest regard. We are proud to have veterans serving on our staff and board of trustees, and we value their service."

Stone and Jamie Schuh, the other LIFE employee, involved in the incident released a statement late Tuesday night.

"We sincerely apologize for all the pain we have caused by posting the picture we took in Washington DC on Facebook. While posted on a public forum, the picture was intended only for our own amusement. We never meant any disrespect to any of the people nationwide who have served this country and defended our freedom so valiantly. It was meant merely as a visual pun, intending to depict the exact opposite of what the sign said, and had absolutely nothing to do with the location it was taken or the people represented there. We never meant to cause any harm or disrespect to anyone, particularly our men and women in uniform. We realize it was in incredibly poor taste, and are deeply sorry for the offense we have caused."

"We would also like to apologize to LIFE, Inc. It is an amazing organization that provides invaluable services to adults with learning and developmental disabilities. We are beyond remorseful that our actions have caused them such undue public scrutiny. The disrespect implied by our picture has nothing at all to do with LIFE's mission statement or values. We regret having caused any suffering to the staff members, residents, families and friends."

"Again, we very sincerely apologize to everyone who took offense to the photo. We realize that it was an ignorant and distateful thing for us to do, but we truly meant no harm. We are deeply sorry."

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