Take them to the cleaners

Just when you think you’ve seen it all or heard it all, someone always comes out of the woodwork with behavior that shocks most normal people.

There is trouble. Then there is really bad. And then it’s really disgusting. In the case of the cleaning company that has decided to share its work with the public, even calling its actions utterly disgraceful is far from enough.

Crime Scene Cleaners hit the headlines this week after RNZ revealed it had posted graphic – if that word is strong enough – images of the most gruesome and intimate nature on social media sites. for nearly two years.

The company, which makes a living cleaning up after human tragedies, has chosen to show on its Facebook and Instagram accounts horrific and unauthorized photographs of the aftermath of suicides, sudden deaths, assaults and domestic violence.

When discovered, his first reaction, that he was trying to educate the public and, according to co-owner and director Carl Loader, to raise awareness of important social issues, comes across as pathetic.

Mr Loader has since issued an apology “to anyone who has been offended”, although it is unclear whether this is also an apology for the behavior that caused the offence.

Not only did the company break trust in the integrity of its operations, but it also went far beyond decency and potentially violated people’s right to privacy.

In our view, any company behind such egregious actions deserves the excoriation and penalties they face.

The images posted would have left little to the imagination. They showed decomposing human remains, blood spattered ceilings, pieces of bone, as well as explanatory captions.

Crime Scene Cleaners have been used by the Ministry of Justice, Christchurch and Auckland City Councils, KiwiRail and Ports of Auckland. They say they never allowed the images to be shared publicly.

The company began posting scene photos to its Facebook page in April 2020, some of which garnered over 100 reactions, as well as dozens of comments and shares. He has over 2000 followers on Facebook and over 5000 on Instagram.

What was going through the minds of those who started posting these sickening images? It’s possible that, outraged and frustrated by what they had to clean up after, someone wanted to show the audience what they had to do.

But it’s also possible that they wanted to show off their work, in a weird attempt to make themselves seem important.

However, this is not a campaign to raise public awareness of these issues. Even if it was, it wasn’t the right way to do it.

This is truly a case where the moral compass is seriously adrift. The publication of the images reflects a real lack of sensitivity and empathy towards the deceased and shows an appalling lack of respect towards them and their families.

This is no excuse to say that the photos do not contain any identifying characteristics that could infringe on their privacy. Chances are the loved ones of the deceased could get by anyway.

So it’s good news that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner wants to hear from anyone who feels their privacy has been violated and that the Chief Coroner is looking into whether the Coroners Act has been violated. .

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also condemned the company and called the public use of the images unacceptable.

Acting Privacy Commissioner Liz MacPherson said such events are “deeply personal” and that posting them on social media is “intrinsically wrong”.

We agree and believe there can be no justification for what the company has done.

He spilled gruesome imagery for the ghouls to salivate in and for the rest of us to avoid like the plague.

Once seen, they cannot be invisible.

About Julius Southworth

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