Woman Disrespects Military in Facebook Photo, Has Life Turned Upside-Down

It’s a story that’s becoming more and more common: someone uploads tactless photos to the Internet, the Internet disapproves and collectively pounces on the person. It happened after Hurricane Sandy when a Brazilian model decided to do a photo shoot amidst the devastation, and it has happened again. The target of the Internet’s fury this time is a woman named Lindsey Stone, who posted the above photograph to her Facebook page.

Stone shot the photo with her friend Jamie Schuh while visiting Arlington National Cemetery last month. The image was meant to be rebellious, with Stone doing exactly what the sign said not to do (shouting and disrespect versus silence and respect). Then she made the mistake of uploading the image to her personal Facebook page.

After the photo received a number of negative comments, Stone explained her actions with the following comment, saying that she was just being the douchebag that she is, that the photo represented “challenging authority in general,” and that she didn’t intend any disrespect of the military:

The apology was too late, and the cat was already out of the bag.

From that point, a new Facebook page popped up calling for Stone to be fired from her job at a learning disability non-profit named LIFE — a page that has since attracted over 16,000 Likes.

The story went viral across major websites as well, with Wizbang, Fark, and Gizmodo reporting on the story before it spread to national media.

LIFE quickly released a statement apologizing for Stone’s actions and saying that she has been placed on unpaid leave:

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.

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. The men and women who have selflessly fought and sacrificed their lives to protect the rights and lives of Americans deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. We are acutely aware that this photo has done a disservice to veterans and we are deeply saddened that it was taken and shared in a public medium.

Stone herself wrote an apology that was published today by 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 distateful thing for us to do, but we truly meant no harm. We are deeply sorry.

Stone has since nuked her Facebook page. Her father is also speaking out on national media:

The story is yet another stark reminder that personal Facebook pages can be a lot less private than you’d like, and that a single photographic misstep on the Internet has the potential to turn your life upside-down.

(via Gizmodo)

Thanks for sending in the tip, Mark!

  • val escobar

    Thank you for your service. Its Good America appreciates her warriors. VietNam era enjoyed no such support but the does or hawks.
    Poor choice to of posted on FB. I totally agree with you. From my grandfather to my son we have served too.
    This has been blown out of proportion. She was parodying the words on the sign not America’s fallen. Imho

  • Julio Striebheim

    Ok you’ve used your power of free expression to demonstrate your foolishness. Mission accomplished.

  • Steve Keogh

    Are American soldiers fighting to defend American freedoms? I don’t think that has happened since at least the Civil War. They have killed millions of innocent civilians and secured plenty of oil fields.

    But keep up with the silly fallacy that the American military defends freedom anywhere. I have several million dead South East Asians and Arabs who may disagree, slightly.

  • Bua

    I would support firing her on the basis of inappropriate behavior at work. She was getting paid to travel on a company trip.

  • Bua

    Perhaps. But I think oppression of the ‘enemy’ is also important so that they don’t overflow and become in 9/11. So there is two sides to the argument.

    Also, if you want to be a super power, you ‘have’ to make sure people know you are. Fear induction is an important strategy. My two cents of course.

  • Bua

    Agree. We all need to remember at all times, we live in a COMMUNITY. We should love and nurture that. All this igadgets foster a sense that only ‘I’ exist.

  • Bill

    Well, a perfect example of why you should think before you act.
    We all have done stupid things or maybe some jokes in poor taste, but now with Social Media, that “joke” in poor taste can get you some un-wanted attention.

    Sure, she has the freedom to speak her mind, but, so do we. In any situation, when you say something, no matter how right or wrong you are, expect someone to rebut or challenge your expressions. Freedom of expression coming back at you, it works both ways.

    I can guarantee that she’ll think twice about posting any other pictures challenging authority like a sign, if she was at least half smart, she would.

  • ProtoWhalePig

    Obviously you meant that the US, the UK and most of all, The Soviet Union freed you from Nazi tyranny. Sorry if that’s an inconvenient roadblock in your appreciation of WWII history.

    As for “yet AGAIN” well, your understanding of WWI history is even worse, if that were possible.

  • Al in NJ

    well said.

  • Robert Clark

    What in hades are u writing about here ? I TOTALLY understand and know from visiting the Kursk and Stalingrad battle sites in Russia just what the Soviets did and my grandfather is a decorated Soviet veteran. I realize the soviets fought over 78% of the Nazi divisions in WW2. Now as to ww one , well the doughboys did arrive as FRESH reinforcements in the the Marne offensive near Ameins in 1918 to push near the German border . As to ww2 , there is no doubt that the ungrateful Parisian french and socialist french (not the normandy area citizens whom I have met and are grateful) were liberated NOT by degaulle but by Patton and the 3rd army making a hook to the south of paris and North of Lemanns into the Metz Saar german border area until the gas from the redball express ran out. For political reasons , Ike allowed degaulle to enter paris first at the head of the free french army. Any other questions of my understanding of WW2 here ? singed a lifelong simulator of WW1 and WW2 both on the board and Pc as well as 20 year army veteran and living visitor to both the west and east fronts. Just ask me about my tour of the maginot line or the kursk battle field and see my fotos of mamayev kurgan sometime.

  • brenda king

    I am not understanding how any one would think any part of that photo was supposed to be funny???

  • Lauren

    I’m military, and I say let her be the self-proclaimed douchebag she is. I believe we call that freedom of expression in the United States. Last time I checked, even douchebags are afforded that right as well. People just need to calm the fuck down. Inalienable rights in this country aren’t afforded based on a set of character traits one possesses. If that was the case, I think like 17 or 18 of us would be walking around with these rights. Again, calm the f**k down people.

  • EVEL

    I joined for freedom and liberty. this is not what is freedom and liberty, let her be disrespectful, don’t hurt this lady teach her.

  • NavyO

    Really? The Civil War???? Have you forgotten the World Wars? I have several thousand dead American military members who would disagree with you.

  • NavyO

    Really? The Civil War???? Have you forgotten the World Wars? I have several thousand dead American military members who would disagree with you.

  • George Wright

    Challenging authority in general would be the same picture in front of a similar sign at a library. In front of an Arlington National Cemetary sign definately shows disrespect for every hero buried there. It is extremely poor judgement to not realize that. And even more so to think that facebook or the internet is not a public forum. I could never trust an employee with that much lack of judgement.

  • Dan

    American’s are always going to be reactionary and totally irrational when it comes to mob mentality. This has been the real source of their disastrous foreign and social policy making over the last 60 years.

  • Guest

    So facebook is allowed to keep up a hate page, to get people fired. That’s nice.

  • bob cooley

    Well, in the US we don’t torture you for it. This is just a public shaming, not imprisonment and worse for speaking out against the state (which in those named countries, this would be considered).

  • Xsquader

    That is indeed what they are doing through unorthodox but expected means. A black snake is still a snake.