British television personality Piers Morgan lit up social media when he tweeted a photo of James Bond star Daniel Craig wearing his infant daughter in a baby carrier.
It wasn’t the photo itself that got people riled up. It was Morgan’s hashtag-style commentary about Craig’s “papoose,” an adopted Native American word used in Britain for a child carrier.
“#emasculatedBond,” he wrote.
Many of Morgan’s 6.5 million followers — along with countless others who happened to see the tweet — were less than impressed with the dad-shaming stunt.
“In case you needed evidence that people like @piersmorgan literally just make up stuff to get upset about,” wrote one Twitter user, “apparently Daniel Craig is less of a man because he’s ... *checks* ... carrying his child?”
The response was swift and severe: The British provocateur was widely criticized for his skewed image of manhood, in which he claimed that Craig’s choice of parenting gear was a sign of emasculation rather than practicality.
“You really have to be so uncertain of your own masculinity to concern yourself with how another man carries his child,” Hollywood star Chris Evans wrote. “Any man who wastes time quantifying masculinity is terrified on the inside.”
(Morgan’s response? “Captain America wouldn’t wear a papoose.”)
Some users responded by calling Morgan names — “insecure manbaby” and worse.
Others attempted a more rational approach by explaining the benefits of baby carriers, which allow parents to keep children close, yet have their hands unoccupied while strolling on the street.
“There is nothing more masculine than a Father taking an active role in nurturing and looking after his child,” another user wrote. “About time more in the media celebrated this, I mean aren’t you right-wing oddballs always bleating on about lack of family values?”
Still others wrote that a father taking care of his child, even wearing a carrier, is attractive.
Craig is not even the first Bond actor to be photographed carrying his child, as at least one Twitter user pointed out.
And a handful of men responded with photos of themselves wearing baby carriers.
It’s not newsworthy to see that many men are engaged partners in parenting. They change diapers and handle late-night whimpers. They strap babies to their chests and go about the day’s business, too. They’re part of a generation whose mothers and fathers embrace their nurturing side and share the workload at home.
Morgan could not be reached for comment; neither could Craig, who recently welcomed his daughter with actress Rachel Weisz to the world.
But Morgan, a father himself, did not stand down or waffle; he maintained that “papooses” are “ridiculous instruments of emasculation.”
He defended his honor on Twitter, latching onto the steady stream of “papoose”-related content and goading President Trump to share his thoughts on the baby carrier: “Everyone else seems to be getting very worked up about them. I don’t really have you down as a papoose kinda guy, but then you’re full of surprises.”
As of Tuesday morning, Trump had not yet taken the bait.
But Morgan was still at it, turning the backlash he had spawned into “Good Morning Britain” content.
And, of course, there were more troll-y tweets.
Calling the tweet-lashing a “ferocious Papoose-gate debate,” Morgan also ventured that there must be a change in James Bond casting.
Clearly, he said, the world needs a “007 who looks sharp in a tux & wouldn’t be seen dead in a papoose.”
Naturally, he nominated himself.