Two women who work at a Cape Cod non-profit have been placed on unpaid leave from their jobs after a photo went viral on the Internet that showed one of them with her middle finger raised at Arlington National Cemetery, the company said.
The photo was posted on one woman’s Facebook page, according to the non-profit, LIFE Inc. said. The photo has since been removed from the page, said the company, which did not name the two women.
But copies of the photo have been posted on a number of websites as criticism has rained down on the women, including a Facebook page demanding that both be fired. The photo shows a woman pretending to yell and extending her middle finger in front of a sign in the cemetery that read, “Silence and Respect.”
LIFE is a non-profit that provides independent living situations for adults with learning and intellectual disabilities.
One LIFE employee took the photo, while the other posed for it, the company said. The photo was taken when the two were among dozens of residents and staff members on a trip to Washington D.C. in October.
“This photograph in no way reflects the opinions or values of the LIFE organization, which holds our nation’s veterans in the highest regard,” Diane Enochs, executive director of LIFE, said in a statement. “We are acutely aware that this photo has done a grave disservice to veterans and we are deeply saddened that it was taken and shared in a public medium.”
LIFE has been pursuing an internal investigation of the incident.