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High school football coach caught with pants down on Facebook

Paul Withee accidentally posted a nude photo to Facebook. He lost his job at Maine's Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and his Facebook profile might be next. 


Kris Holt

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 15, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 9:22 pm CDT

A high school football coach has hit the showers permanently after accidentally sharing a nude photo of himself on Facebook.

Paul Withee, who was varsity football coach at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine, resigned from his position after a parent complained to school officials about his photo. He has also stepped down from his position as a middle school mathematics and science teacher.

The image was viewable on his Facebook profile for less than half an hour. But that was long enough to cause significant damage to his career.

Withee said he was embarrassed and that this was the first and last time he’d do anything like this.

“You have to be careful with what you do with social media. You can get yourself into a lot of trouble and something you love can be taken away from you just like this,” he told the Sun Journal newspaper.

School Superintendent Rick Colpitts said Withee had intended for the photo to only be viewable by a friend of his. However, he accidentally made the image visible to the public.

Although the school allows educators to be friends with students on Facebook and other social media sites for educational purposes, Withee does not have any students as friends on Facebook.

Colpitts added that he believes the photo was only viewed by the parent who complained. Withee deleted the photo as soon as he realized his error, though it may still be visible to those with a direct link to it (and could be for quite some time).

“He’s contrite and apologetic,” Colpitts told the Associated Press. “It’s disappointing. We’re all disappointed. Even when it’s a mistake, there are still consequences. That’s really the story here.”

As well as losing his jobs, Withee may be losing his Facebook account too.

While it’s not illegal for adults to post nude photos of themselves online, it’s something that Facebook doesn’t permit either. As explained in its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:

“You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”

The site recently removed a page where some people had innocent—albeit naked—fun in the snow.

Facebook is cool with having photos of women breastfeeding, though only images of children who are actively breastfeeding are allowed to remain on the site. Anything else is considered nudity and will be removed per Facebook policy.

In fact, the site’s policy on nudity is so strict that it suspended two community members’ accounts after they posted photos of a 19th century painting depicting a nude figure and a breast cancer survivor’s reconstructed breasts, respectively. Facebook even removed a photo of Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind album cover, which features a baby floating naked in a pool.

Let’s just hope, for his sake, that Withee doesn’t end up on Is Anyone Up.

Photo by jamie-williams-photo

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*First Published: Feb 15, 2012, 1:17 pm CST