The Internet is abuzz after David Beckham posted a picture of him kissing seven-year-old daughter Harper on the lips while ice skating Monday. Captioned, “Christmas is coming. Let’s go skate,” the Instagram post is generating criticism from followers who claim the retired soccer player’s show of affection was inappropriate.
“It’s improper for a parent to kiss their kids on the lips,” one user said, while another added, “It’s weird and disgusting.” And on Good Morning Britain, TV host Piers Morgan deemed the photo “quite creepy.”
It isn’t the first time the 43-year-old has faced backlash for locking lips with his children. Both he and wife Victoria—who are parents to Brooklyn, 18, Romeo, 14, Cruz, 12, and Harper—have shared photos of parent-child lip kisses on social media in the past. The British athlete explained in a Facebook video in July 2017, “I kiss all my kids on the lips…I’m very affectionate with my kids. It’s how I was brought up and Victoria, and it’s how we are with our children.”
While Beckham has yet to respond to the current controversy, plenty of fans have defended his display of fatherly love, saying it’s perfectly normal and innocent. One comment reads, “Kiss your kids, people! Kiss them every day and tell them you love them.”
Even some celebrities are chiming in to show their support for Beckham. Fellow dad Ryan Reynolds liked the November 26 post, while NFL quarterback Tom Brady (who has been seen kissing his own son on the lips) wrote, “Dad and daughter. So sweet!” The photo already has over 2 million likes and 11,400 comments on Instagram as of Wednesday morning.