A singer from Nottingham has come under fire for posing topless in front of a First World War memorial at a church in Clapham, South London.
Lauren Henson, who goes by the stage name of Indiana, uploaded a series of snaps in which she is standing in front of a plaque which commemorates a list of those who fought in the war, covering her breasts with her hands.
Though two images were originally posted in June, it was only after the 31-year-old uploaded two more photos from the same set of images on Wednesday that she attracted criticism, with many people accusing her of being disrespectful.
“Those names behind me, those boys died fighting for our freedom,” the caption on the newest image reads.
“I live in the free world they created and here I am, embracing my body and being free.
“Take me back 100 years, stand me in front of those soldiers, what would they think? What would they say? What would they do? I think I look good in front of that wall.”
Henson added that she had no malicious intent with regards to uploading the images and doesn’t believe they are offensive:
“Of course I’m not trying to disrespect the fallen,” she wrote.
“If I’ve offended anyone then it was not my intention.”
However, Henson’s photos have been heavily criticised by her followers, with many labelling them “disrespectful” and “classless”.
“Pretty bad taste in front of a memorial for war dead,” one person wrote.
“It's a cool photo but couldn't you have found a better wall to pose in front of?” another added.
“It just shows you have no respect for the people who gave their lives for this country.”
Addressing the backlash to the photos on BBC Radio Nottingham on Wednesday, the Loughborough-based singer, who sang in front of the Queen at the 2013 opening of BBC’s new Broadcasting House, revealed she didn’t realise it was a war memorial at the time.
“I saw the words ‘The Glorious Dead’ and thought ‘that’s so cool’,” she said on the Verity Cowley programme, in reference to the words engraved at the top of the plaque.
“It’s not like it’s too much of a provocative pose, it’s just me embracing my sexuality.”
Henson added that she’s struggled with body image issues in the past and implied that the photographs were an expression of her newfound confidence.
“I’m a very sexual person,” she added.
In a statement provided to The Independent in response to the criticisms, Henson adds: “I have nothing but respect and gratitude for those who gave their lives for us to enjoy a free society.
"My Instagram post on 5 September was intended to be an expression of that freedom.
"I acknowledge that it may have caused offence to some people, but that was not my intention and it was never meant to reflect negatively on the fallen who made the greatest sacrifice so we may speak freely in this country.”
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