Lindsey Stone, the Plymouth, Massachusetts woman who posted a photo of herself giving the middle finger in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, creating a firestorm of Internet backlash and outrage, lost her job Wednesday.
Stone’s employer, Living Independently Forever, Inc., a non-profit based in Hyannis, announced that both Stone and the co-worker who took the photo were no longer working at the non-profit after thousands of people rallied for the pair to be removed from their jobs, saying what they did was disrespectful and offensive.
“We wish to announce that the two employees recently involved in the Arlington Cemetery incident are no longer employees of LIFE. Again, we deeply regret any disrespect to members of the military and their families. The incident and publicity has been very upsetting to the learning disabled population we serve. To protect our residents, any comments, however well-intentioned, will be deleted. We appreciate your concern and understanding as we focus on the care of our community,” the company wrote late Wednesday night on their Facebook page.
The photo, which has been taken down, was first posted last month on Stone’s personal Facebook page, and showed Stone giving the middle finger while pretending to yell next to a sign that read “Silence and Respect” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Stone took the photo while on a trip to Washington, D.C. with her work. It soon went viral online, leading to the creation of a Facebook group page called “Fire Lindsey Stone.”
Within a few days, there were more than 30,000 “likes” on the page, along with thousands of comments from people blasting Stone for what she had done.
A Change.org Petition to get Stone fired was also created, with thousands of people signing their names on it in support.
Stone’s company initially issued a statement saying Stone had been suspended from her job, however, that was not enough for the folks behind the Facebook page.
The group’s creator said they “will only accept termination.”
A “Don’t Fire Lindsey Stone” Facebook page was put up to try and defend Stone, but it garnered little support compared to the tens of thousands of “likes” on the rival sites.
On Tuesday, after the photo made national and local news headlines, Stone and her co-worker issued an apology, admitting what they did was wrong and saying they meant no harm by it.
The duo 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. 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.
The apology wasn’t enough to save their jobs, however, after thousands of commenters flooded LIFE’s personal Facebook page with angry responses and outbursts over the photo.
On Wednesday night, users on the social media site reacted to the news that Stone and her co-worker had lost their jobs.
Others wrote that Stone got what she deserved and that her removal from her job at LIFE was “justice.”
“Lets hope a lesson was learned. There’s no taking this back for her,” another Facebook fan wrote on the “Fire Lindsey Stone” page.
Some online users didn’t agree with Stone being put in the national spotlight for taking the photo, though.
Below is a collection of photos from Instagram taken by people visiting Washington, D.C., and the Arlington National Cemetery: