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Family's Christmas card: Funny or offensive?

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 08:46:33-05

A Louisiana family is catching major heat for a Christmas photo that was apparently intended to be a joke.

The photo, taken by Hannah Hawkes Photography, has been attacked on Facebook by people who think it promotes violence against women. It features the female family members with tape over their mouths, the male child giving a thumbs up and the dad holding a photo that says "Peace on Earth."

The outrage prompted the photographer to post a message about the picture.

"After being silent, now isn't that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have received some very hateful and vulgar comments and messages. I would like to say that as a female I do NOT and have never promoted violence to women! I do not support abuse, or the degradation of women. My controversial photo was taken by request by the family, and was in no way meant to promote abuse. This photo was taken with humor in mind, and was meant as a comical Christmas photo. I personally know this family, and have known them for many years. They are not abusive to their children in any shape or form. Also, I would like to add that no one was harmed during the process! So everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and MAY GOD BLESS you and yours!"

Detractors were not satisfied. One wrote, "Images are powerful and influential, unfortunately this image not only is in poor taste but promotes abuse of women." Another wrote, "As a female I do not find this funny. It promotes the stereotype that women talk too much and should just shut up. You are complicit in this stereotyping which does nothing to improve gender equality. Just because the client/friend asked for it, doesn't mean you have to do it."

But the photographer and family in the photo have plenty of supporters, too.

"I LOVED the photo....thought it was humorous and cute. People, quit trying to read something into every little thing you see...AND get your feelings off your shoulders and quit being so sensitive," wrote one Facebook user.

"Loved the pic! It's obviously a family joke and one that we hear often in our family too about us girls talking too much," wrote another. "If that's what the family wanted then good on them! I have a family pic of hubs and I facing each other and all of our kids being their own silly selves.... Who cares what the negative Nancy's think - they aren't paying for it!"

The photographer also posted photos of the family without the tape.

Johnson Family Photos

Posted by Hannah Hawkes Photography on Sunday, December 13, 2015

Neither Jameslanie Johnson, the mother in the photo, nor Hannah Hawkes Photography responded to ABC News' request for comment. But Johnson, in apparent response to the controversy, posted another photo to her Facebook page.