An Argentine funeral worker has apologized for taking a picture with his son next to the open casket of Diego Maradona, in which the soccer legend’s body is clearly visible.
Claudio Fernandez said in an interview with Radio 10 that he has been bombarded with death threats since the photo, in which his son is giving a thumbs up, started circulating online. Another photo with a third worker, Diego Molina, and the body has also been circulating.
From the BBC:
Mr Fernandez told Radio 10 on Friday that the decision to take the photo was "something instantaneous".
"My son, like every kid, raised his thumb and they took the photo," he said. "I know that many people have been offended, they have taken it badly."
Mr Fernández said he had received death threats.
"They say they are going to kill us, break our heads," he told the radio station.
The blowback against the three men hasn’t been limited to death threats. All three workers, whom the Sepelios Pinier funeral parlor has insisted were “outsourced” employees, were quickly fired, and Maradona’s lawyer Matias Morla has promised to take action against Molina.
How 3 funeral workers took Diego Maradona pictures
Matías Picon, manager of the funeral parlor, told Argentina’s TN news channel that his family was “devastated” when they saw the photos circulating, and that they had attempted to take precautions to stop this exact situation from playing out.
He reportedly said the three brothers who run the family business prepared Maradona’s body, confiscating phones from the morgue before giving them back when the work was done. One brother was apparently keeping watch over the body until he was called away to speak with the Casa Rosada, the office of the Argentine president and site of Maradona’s funeral. That left the workers free to take the photos.
Picon called the group “pelotudos,” a word for a--hole in Argentina, and implied he fears legal action. He reportedly added that his company had run funeral services for other members of the Maradona family before, making the devastation even more personal.
Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60.
Considering he was among the most beloved figures around the soccer world, and revered in his native Argentina, the death threats are sadly unsurprising.
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