Archive for November 30th, 2012

November 30, 2012

Want to Retain Good Employees? Then, Don’t Do This:

Lindsey Stone and her supervisor, Jamie Schuh, were reportedly good employees at LIFE (Living Independently Forever, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization).

Now, they are unemployed.

Schuh took a photograph of Stone standing beside a sign. Stone appears to be shouting and flipping-off the sign which asks for “Silence and Respect.” The photo was posted on Stone’s Facebook page for her friends to see. It was meant as an ironic joke similar to the time she posted a photo of herself smoking in front of a “No Smoking” sign. I’m providing an unedited version of the photo so that you can see for yourself what I’m describing.

Lindsey Stone posing for what became a controversial photo.

But, there were four major problems with the taking and posting of the “Silence and Respect” photo: 

1. The photograph was taken beside the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

2. The photograph was taken during a business trip.

3. The photograph went viral on the Internet.

4. Tens of thousands of people called for the termination of the employment of Stone and Schuh.

The photo was posted in October. When the photo clearly became a controversy, Stone removed it and issued an apology on October 20, according to Gawker:

Whoa whoa whoa… wait. This is just us, being the douchebags that we are, challenging authority in general. Much like the pic posted the night before, of me smoking right next to a no smoking sign. OBVIOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people that serve or have served our country.”

In another public apology, Stone and Schuh said:

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.”

For many, the apologies were not enough. Jazz Shaw, on the blog Hot Air,  wrote:

She was grossly and crudely insulting the Honored Dead.”

By contrast, Robert Johnson, a military veteran, wrote at Business Insider:

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.”

When LIFE found out about the image on November 19, it issued its own public statement:

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.”

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