LOUISIANA (WABC) -- It's that time of year when mailboxes get flooded with holiday cards, and a family in Louisiana who thought they were being funny instead ignited a firestorm.
The Johnson family holiday photo causing controversy on the web, with comments pouring in from around the globe.
"I've actually received messages from people all the way in Germany," photographer Hannah Hawkes said.
In the photo, you see the family of five posing between rows of Christmas trees. The mother and two young daughters have their mouths taped shut and hands bound by Christmas lights, while the father holds a sign that says "Peace on earth," while their younger brother gives thumbs up.
"The fact that you and your friends find this funny shows what a sick bunch you truly are," one commenter posted.
The picture went viral, sparking outrage, with many feeling the photo is sexist and sending the message women should not speak.
"All the negative feedback was real disheartening," mom Lanie Johnson said. "It was originally my idea. I found a photo like it on Pinterest and decided, hey let's do it."
Hawkes said it was always meant as a joke, and the Johnson family standing by the photo.
"Take it for what it is," dad James Johnson said. "It's a family photo. If you like it, great. We love it. If not, scroll up. You're not going to even see it a half second later."