Lindsey Stone Fired Over Facebook Photo

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

stoneLindsey Stone, a 30-year-old Massachusetts native, has been terminated because of the photo (shown left) she posted on her Facebook page. Lindsey worked for LIFE (Living Independent Forever), a Cape Cod-based nonprofit organization that assists adults with learning disabilities. Jamie Schuh, who took the photo, and Lindsey’s supervisor at LIFE, was also terminated.

The two were on a company-paid trip to Washington D.C. when the photo was taken. The photo shows Lindsey mocking a sign at Arlington National Cemetery. The photo went viral and over 30,000 people liked a Facebook page set up to demand her firing. The two have apologized for the gag:

We never meant any disrespect to any of the people nationwide who have served this country and defended our freedom so valiantly.

While the photo obviously mocks the sign, many apparently thought it mocked those buried at Arlington National Cemetery. A sign demanding “Silence and Respect” deserves to be mocked. The wording of the sign projects a sense of arrogance and entitlement common to institutions that view themselves as sacred cows.

Adding the word “Please” to the sign would change the command to a request, a more sensible sentiment.

H/T: Mano Singham, Gawker, Boston Herald.

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208 thoughts on “Lindsey Stone Fired Over Facebook Photo

  1. Hubert C., you have settled on the interpretation that apparently makes you comfortable. NAL has gone to the trouble to explain a far more reasonable interpretation.

    You use your fairly fanciful interpretation, based solely on the photo, to support a generalization that “people nowadays have no sense of propriety anymore” How convenient. Do you include yourself as a “people” who have no sense of propriety? Generalizations really do undercut what you may be trying to say. I don’t even have to get into the merits of of your surmise about the photo; it’s absolute certainty — really impossible in this universe — negates it.

    Why don’t you say what you mean and try to defend it rather than bulldoze with unverifiable assertions and meaningless generalizations?

  2. . . . and JAG points out that “If the words Arlington Natl. Cemetery were blurred out, NOBODY would have known where the photo was taken….”, i.e., there is not appearance, except inyour mind, that swoldiers are being flipped off.

    I’m an an amateur photographer myself ( a truly amateur pursuit, though I have been published), and I look at the photo with that eye. I find it an awkward attempt to convey something, but I can’t be sure what save for the prominent words “silence”, “respect”. All the rest of what has been made as a result of the social media posting, and the corporate media feeding frenzy, is based on interpretations which genuflect to societal norms and savage the individual.

    What those societal norms are generally held to be, and whether I agree or not, my own view is that it’s not the sort of process and treatment an expansive view of democracy would support. But then, my own generalizations these days tend to lament what I see as a polarization of citizens that seems to be increasing.

    • More importantly, if Lindsey Stone wants to rip on the Tomb of the Unknowns, me, my service, or the hundreds of mutilated troops I served with at Walter Reed Medical Center, she should be able to do so without fear of retribution. Freedom like that is what we fought for, and respecting other opinions is part of what the military tried to teach all of us who served.

      ——————————

      DonS…

      This is a snippet from an article DEFENDING Lindsay Stone…..
      and even they said that she was ripping on the Soldiers…..

      It seems that the MEDIA told EVERYONE what to see… and the people saw it this way…..
      The media did this to create controversy…
      They NEED controversy to get ratings…..
      and the people FELL for it…

      I find it sad and VERY frightening that ALL of these people were so EASILY LEAD to see something in a photo, that just WAS NOT THERE….

  3. @AnonPost – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” -Plato

    If there were a “like” button, I would have hit it.

    I’ll provide another quote: “To everything, there is a season…”

    @DonS – Never meant to be a directive – merely (using the word “might”) was just a suggestion, but feel free to bristle away, if it makes you happy.

    ———————————————————————

    Ms. Stone is 30 years old. Here, or at least in Clifton, near where I live, she might be a grandmother.

    One thing I never considered until last night; was she with her charges when this photo was taken? If so, special needs persons are prone to imitating, especially imitating those who they perceive as their protectors/guardians. If this is the case, she set a poor example of social grace and respect for them to follow.

  4. junction,

    Thanks for reminding me of her age. She’s certainly not “a girl”… (“Young woman” would have been more appropriate.)

    “To everything, there is a season…” takes me back.

    Not the source to which you were referring, perhaps, but…:

  5. JunctionShamus —> “One thing I never considered until last night; was she with her charges when this photo was taken? If so, special needs persons are prone to imitating, especially imitating those who they perceive as their protectors/guardians. If this is the case, she set a poor example of social grace and respect for them to follow.”

    More speculating on top of speculating, all to pile on more. Leave her aloooone!

    BTW JS, I. never meant to insinuate you were being intentionally directive. But around here, much of the time, words and the way they are used, are parsed unmercifully. That said, you might reread your comment on “a day at ANC”, with an eye out to the way it is saturated with presumption. Cheers.

  6. Proofreading by the author would have made the following piece a little better, IMO, but he makes some very good points. Perhaps it’s already in the stream here — I may have missed it — but in the spirit of “leave her alone”:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chez-pazienza/leave-lindsey-stone-alone_b_2171131.html

    An excerpt:

    “A while back, a friend of mine and I were having beers on a Saturday afternoon — probably too many, to be honest — and, as is our nature, we decided to play a little game, the goal of which was to come up with the simplest statement or product that would conversely offend the widest swath of people. After quite a bit of back and forth, we hit on it: one of those magnetic ribbons for the back of your car that reads “(F)uck the Troops.” Do we really have a hatred for America’s fighting men and women? No, of course not; my dad was a Navy SEAL, for Christ’s sake, and I have an immense respect for him and anyone else who’s served this country. The point was merely that an unwavering respect for our military has become possibly the most sacrosanct position our culture has ever produced and, strangely, agreed upon; even more than taking a shot at, say, Jesus, insulting our troops is the one line you simply don’t cross, not if you want to continue feeling safe walking outside your front door. Obviously, as such, our bad joke remained just that — a bad joke, one that never left that pitcher-cluttered table until right now. But the idea, even in our drunken state, was to shatter an oppressive taboo that had become a politically correct article of faith. Besides, there’s almost always something funny about going too far.

    “Lindsey Stone made a bad joke, supposedly at the expensive (sic) of our troops although not really, and is now being made to pay for it in ways she probably never imagined. Her life has been turned upside down and there are people calling for her job and her head and basically threatening her life. To those people, I’d say: enough, already. You made your point. You’ve taught her the lesson that you believe you’re entitled to teach her — now leave her the hell alone. Go find something else to be furious about. I guarantee you won’t have to look very hard.”

  7. “China’s Cyberposse”

    By TOM DOWNEY
    Published: March 3, 2010

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Human-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    “Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — have become a Chinese phenomenon: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, run out of town. It’s crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results.”

  8. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” is a quote attributed to Samuel Johnson which he made in 1775. What this quote means, in my opinion, is that when all else fails, bring out the flag.
    Everyone will love you then.
    The US spends more on its military than the next ten nations combined. Almost everyone has either served in the military, or has friends and relatives that are or were in the military. The US society
    is closing in on a full generation that has never lived in a country that was not at war. The US is a very military-centric nation. To a large extent the US military now defines America and its values.
    Samuel Johnson’s quote is hundreds of years old, and Americans have learned on their own that supporting the US military is a quick and easy way to get approval. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the military people and civilians. The military people can elevate their social status by flaunting their service. The civilians can show off by displaying fawning adulation for those in the military. The military people enjoy being the objectof all this attention. This creates a self reinforcing feedback loop between the two groups, where the military is elevated further and further to reach god-like status, and the civilians fall all over themselves to pay tribute to these idols. The result is an orgy of exhibitionistic narcissism. When it is perceived that someone is not participating in this groupthink, it creates an opportunity for everyone to confirm and reinforce their patriotic zeal by attacking this threat to their belief system. When it is a blatant and deliberate insult, as Lindsey Stone’s picture appeared to be, the result is an insane competition to see who can be most offended, who can display the most anger, who can be the most publicly hostile, all with one goal- to make that person look good. The more outraged you get, the better you look.
    So, to the pack of wild dogs, to the (aptly named) congress of baboons who self-organized to destroy Ms. Stone for tugging at their psychological security blanket, I have this to say- The Lindsey Stone
    episode is not about disrespecting dead soldiers, or free speech, or a prank gone wrong, or anything else like that.
    It’s all about you.

    http://mycountrymyass.com/LStoneIncident.html

  9. Actually it is all about her attracting bad press for her company while on a company business trip.

    It seems a lot of people have a poor grasp on what is the salient issue in her firing.

  10. Your right in some respect Gene. But the company also succumbed to the media jackels. They had a choice whether to stand behind their employees, perhaps with a reprimand, or just throw in the towel. Of course, had they chosen the former, all the other issues aired here would likely have mushroomed.

    Why bother, eh?

  11. DonS,
    Gene is right. If she had been my employee, she would have been gone as soon as I found out about it, and before the first story hit the news. Gone, as in canned. I would not need media pressure, and I suspect her employer did not either.

  12. DonS,

    I’m going to have to mostly agree with OS on this one from a managerial standpoint. Were she my employee, she’d have been suspended until I could ascertain the level of fallout, but the first customer to complain would have been her exit sign. She’d have gotten written up regardless and as a manager, even if there had been no customer fallout, if it was her third strike, she’d have been out as well. Did the media play a role? Sure. The media certainly amplified the criticism, but business is business. Alienating customers is not good business especially in a not-for-profit social support scenario. Community good will is at the core of keeping that kind of business going and the competition for donations is stiff in a good economy let alone a down economy. She was on a bad career path of her own making the instant she posted that photo to social media under her control.

  13. Thanks for the responses gentlemen.

    My experience with nonprofits, and I’ve held executive positions in two, is that they are not quite as rigid when it comes to a business model. Now things may have changed a good deal since I was last in non-profit administration many (25?) years ago. And the whole social media thing was non existent.

    My instincts would have been to give the good employee another chance, though I expect pressure from a board of directors, maybe secondary to them being pressured, might have forced my hand.

  14. DonS,
    Social media has not only been a game changer, it has created a whole new game in the business as well as social world. I refuse to have a Facebook page for that reason. My daughter just had to unfriend and block some former high school classmates. They were arrested this past week, and she works in law enforcement. She cannot afford to have these individuals as “friends.” It could conceivably compromise her job. Someone who might want to someday get a security clearance had better have a squeaky clean social media network.

  15. Why exactly is it necessary to write “please” on a sign?? Seriously, some things should simply be common sense if you have any type of upbringing and you should to simply KNOW to respect all of the fallens soldiers that are buried there. All of you are as bad as she is and obviously have no affiliation to the military (unless you want to remark that your grandfather who was killed before you were even born was in the military….how pathetic) There are others of us who live with the fear every single day that we will be visiting our husband’s at this cemetary because they chose to protect our great country and if I saw a woman so blatantly disrespecting the cemetary in which he was buried it would not be pretty. This article is a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  16. Wow – what a bunch of degenerates that are on here. No one said she “didn’t have the right” to do it, but she did have the right to use commonsense in at least posting it on social media. Grace is correct, why should there be a “Please” on the sign? It’s not a library…and since she was on her company dime while being there, you’re damn right that they had every right firing her. Most companies have a morals clause for their employees – if so, she obviously violated it. And remember, she admitted that she was a “Douche bag” – I didn’t say that, she did about herself. But there are quite a few on this blog that I can use that noun to describe.

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