Gravedigger 'sacked' after newspaper photo

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The photo that caused the stir

A gravedigger from Shepton Mallet in Somerset has been unable to find work, after his photograph appeared in the local paper. Ray Loxton, 59, had been in the job for 40 years, but after the photograph of him was printed, he found himself without work.

And he's not the first to lose their job over an unfortunate photograph.

The photo

The photograph was taken in the heat of the summer and showed him with his top off, standing in the grave and smiling. He was shielding his eyes from the sun with one hand.

It was taken by a photographer, who thought he would feature a colourful local character in the newspaper, and it appeared in the Shepton Mallet Journal as the Picture of the Week.

According to the Daily Mail, readers thought he was saluting in the photo, and a number of them wrote to the local paper complaining about the lack of respect they felt he showed. The letters' page featured their complaints.

Loxton told the Shepton Mallett Journal that shortly after the picture appeared, he noticed he wasn't getting so much work, so called a funeral director who told him that because of the media attention they had decided to use someone else.

After his story appeared in the Journal, it went viral. It has been repeated around the world, where tens of thousands of people on social media have taken sides in the argument. A number of local people have also written to the paper to express their support for him - with some calling him a local legend.

We will have to see if this reverses his fortunes.

Felled by a photo

However, he is not the only person to find their career limited by a photo.

There are any number of people in responsible jobs who have been fired for posting inappropriate pictures of themselves in a state of undress online.

However, there are also some more bizarre photos that have lost people their jobs. One of the most notorious was MP Aidan Burley, who was sacked as an aid to transport secretary Justine Greening in December 2011, after being pictured at a party standing next to a man in a Nazi uniform.

This summer a charity worker from South Wales was sacked after footage of him wrestling a shark on an Australian beach went viral. He was hailed as a hero for removing the shark - which could have endangered children - but his bosses were unimpressed because he was on long-term sick leave with stress at the time. He told the newspapers that he had taken the holiday on medical advice. he added: "What am I going to do now? There's not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil."

In October a Chinese Official was sacked after a photograph emerged of him being given a piggyback as he visited victims of the flooding in Zhejiang province. He was apparently wearing expensive shoes, so to cover a flooded piece of ground a barefoot local offered to carry him. The image didn't look great.

Earlier this month a woman in Michigan was fired after choosing an offensive fancy dress costume for Halloween, wearing it to work, and posting photos on Twitter. She had chosen to go as a Boston Marathon victim.