Employees at a morgue who photographs posing alongside Diego Maradona’s dead boy have apologised for the distress they have caused, while at least one has lost his job.
Social networks erupted in anger on Thursday after the photos leaked online. The Times has seen the photographs but has chosen not to publish them.
"I apologise to everyone," said Claudio Fernández, one of the individuals who appears in one of the photographs.
Fernández, pictured with another worker, gave a thumbs up gesture and smiled as he posed for a photograph next to Maradona’s funeral casket. The late footballer’s face can clearly be seen. Fernández’s 18-year-old son also appears in the same image.
"We were waiting before taking him [Maradona], and my son, like every kid, raised his thumb and they took the photo," Fernández explained to Radio 10. "I know that many people have been offended, they have taken it badly, I know that it bothered them."
The images were taken at the Pinier Sepelios funeral home in La Paternal. Company bosses said that they had outsourced some services and that the people who took and posed for the images were not employees of the firm.
"They are not our employees. We are three brothers. We hired them to run the chapel, they are an ambulance company or for transferring units. We sometimes outsource that service," said Matías Picón, one of co-owners of the funeral home.
He said they had apologised profusely to Maradona’s family, asking forgiveness. "We left the funeral room to speak with the police to coordinate the transfer of the body to Casa Rosada, it was when these people took the photos. It was two minutes where they were alone," he explained, saying that he felt “ashamed.’
The photographs quickly went viral on social networks, sparking outrage from users. Minutes later, Maradona’s lawyer, Matías Morla, posted on Twitter that he would launch legal action against those responsible.
"Given the viralisation of an image of Diego on his deathbed, I am going to personally take charge of finding the scoundrel who took that photograph. All those responsible for such an act of cowardice are going to pay," Morla said in a post.
The lawyer went on to identify a third individual, who was seen in another image posing next to the funeral casket.
"Diego Molina is the scoundrel who took a photo next to Diego Maradona's coffin. For the memory of my friend, I am not going to rest until he pays for such an aberration," he said.
Local outlets reported Friday that Molina had been fired as a result of his actions.
Most users on social media agreed. "You have to be disrespectful, shameless, disgusting and an animal to upload a photo of a corpse to social media, be it Maradona or whoever. What a world, really. Disgusting," posted one user.