Lindsey Stone's obscene gesture photo at Arlington National Cemetery stirs anger

12:40 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
Lindsey Stone, 30, of Plymouth, Mass., makes an obscene gesture (blurred in this version) beside a sign at Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The posting on her Facebook page sparked a sharp backlash and caused Stone and a friend, Jamie Schuh, who took the picture, to be placed on unpaid leave from their jobs in Hyannis, Mass.
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(USA TODAY) -- Two young Massachusetts women have been placed on unpaid leave from their jobs after posting a photo on Facebook showing one of them at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery giving the finger beside a sign calling for silence and respect.

Lindsey Stone, 30, and Jamie Schuh, who took the photo, were placed on unpaid leave by a non-profit, LIFE Inc., based in Hyannis, Mass., which helps adults with special needs, the Cape Cod Time reported on Wednesday.

The chief financial officer of the told the Times that the company is ''appalled.''

Fire Lindsey Stone page has gotten more than 14,000 "likes."

Stone, who lives with her parents in Plymouth, Mass., and Jamie Schuh, of Mashpee, Mass., said in a statement to the Boston Heraldthat they "never meant any disrespect" for service members and had only intended it as a "visual pun" in response to the sign, not the location or the people represented there.

Stone's father, 61-year-old retired ironworker Peter Stone, told Herald columnist Jessica Heslam that he was "appalled" when he first saw the photo. "I certainly don't condone anything like that," he said.

When asked if his daughter regrets the photo, Peter Stone said "very much so."

Stone apparently posted it on her Facebook page last month as a joke, but quickly sparked outrage from people who saw it, according to Gawker.com.

The photo and comments were removed from her page, but Gawker published a screen shot of Stone's Facebook response to the negative comments.

"Whoa whoa whoa ... wait," Stone wrote on Oct. 20, according to the screen shot on Gawker. "This is just us, being the douchebags that we are, challenging authority in general ... OBVIOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people that serve or have served our country."

Here is their full statement to the Boston Herald:

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 also sincerely 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 distasteful thing for us to do, but we truly meant no harm. We are deeply sorry.

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