CREEPY. Weird. Creepy.

I quote, there, Piers Morgan, taking a stand against Donald Trump’s unhealthy objectification of his oldest daughter. The television presenter, having us cast our collective mind back to 2016, reminded us of the then-Republican Presidential candidate’s appearance on the Dr Oz show.

As Trump and Ivanka waited on stage for the cameras to begin rolling, the not-yet politician kissed his child. “It’s nice,” Dr Oz said, “To see a dad kiss his daughter.”

Trump, as he is prone, ruined the moment. By the account of several studio witnesses, Trump replied that he kisses Ivanka “with every chance I get.”

It felt uncomfortable - creepy, weird, creepy - because Trump has form for admiring his daughter in a deeply inappropriate way. When a 16-year-old Ivanka hosted the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant, Trump said to the then-Miss Universe, “Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?” To the radio and television personality Howard Stern, Trump said it was fine to describe his child as a “piece of ass”.

He has described her as “voluptuous”. He has said on more than one occasion that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter, he would “be dating her.”

So when it came to passing comment on weird and creepy fatherly attentions, Mr Morgan took the difficult decision to line up his good friend Trump in his crosshairs and fire.


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Oh, excuse us, there’s a hand up at the back. What, not Trump? It wasn’t the US president Piers was talking about – it was David Beckham’s parental attentions he thought were creepy and weird.

I suppose one man’s affectionate gesture is another man’s commenting approvingly on his daughter’s breasts, right?

So if Piers doesn’t see fit to condemn when the President of the United States comments sexually about his daughter, what on earth can poor old Becks have done?

David Beckham shows affection for his seven-year-old daughter, Harper, by kissing her on the lips. Piers, as he is prone, ruined the moment.

On Good Morning Britain earlier this month he condemned the footballer as behaving inappropriately towards his daughter. It wasn’t the first time Beckham had faced ire for the gesture of kissing his little girl on the mouth. In 2017 the same things happened and, in 2016, Victoria Beckham faced criticism for the same thing.

On Friday, almost as if he doesn’t give two hoots whether Piers Morgan believes his parenting to be sub-par, Golden Balls was photographed at the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup in Le Havre, France, giving Harper an affectionate peck. On the mouth.

One would have expected, following counsel from Supernanny Morgan for Beckham to have switched to a firm handshake, with a squeeze of the shoulder saved for poignant milestone moments.

Why would a father kiss his daughter on the lips, asked Mr Morgan? Love, affection, care. To show her she is cherished and adored, particularly in a world of air kissing and fake intimacy. That they have a special bond.

To suggest such a gesture has sexualised undertones shows just how far wrong we have gone as a society. Instead of praising a loving, supportive father and child relationship, people look on with distaste and discomfort.

Until she died when I was in my early 20s I would always kiss my gran on the lips. It was such a meaningful and special gesture, a sign of our closeness and importance to each other as family. She was mine and I was hers and it was a nice wee thing that made me feel loved.


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Recently, at a family gathering, I said goodbye to my uncle with a kiss on the lips and the gesture meant the world to me. We don’t see each other often and I’d forgotten about it. It buoyed me so much that I emailed a friend about it that evening. My dad was never involved in my life and I’m an only child so, growing up with that gesture, it felt like my uncle was marking me out as one of his girls, along with my two female cousins. It’s a tiny thing that feels really special and without a male role model at home, it showed how affection and care should feel.

The thought of anyone condemning this as inappropriate is deeply dispiriting. It’s familial love, a most precious thing.

Children must be encouraged and enabled to set their own boundaries, of course. As soon as kissing a family member because uncomfortable or embarrassing or simply something the child doesn’t want to do, then it should stop.

Children have a right to autonomy over their own bodies and it’s important they aren’t forced to take a sloppy kiss on the cheek from an auntie or give a family friend a hug when they don’t feel like it. Physical affection needs to make them feel secure. It’s vital they know they can say no.

If love and affection between a parent and child makes a person feel like a voyeur, the problem lies with them.

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Beckham is a role model for healthy, nurturing fatherhood - and there are plenty who could learn from him.