Spanish celebrity bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez was heavily criticized for posting a picture of him fighting a calf while holding his baby daughter. While many called him "insane," others defended his behavior.
Spanish bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez is the subject of much backlash on social after he published a picture on Instagram showing him holding his infant daughter as he fights a bleeding calf.
"Carmen's debut, she is the fifth generation bullfighter in our family," Rivera wrote in the caption, which he ended with the hashtag "#OrgulloDeSangre" – "Blood pride," possibly alluding both to his daughter and to the blood pouring from the calf.
The picture has outraged Spanish social media users, coming only days after a controversial Facebook feature allowing users to flag pictures as offensive for displaying bullfighting scenes was pulled amid much controversy.
On Twitter, Rivera's hashtag was used to criticize both the fact that he was endangering his daughter and the practice of bullfighting. One user called Daniel Yagüe Millán compared Rivera to late singer Michael Jackson, who famously came close to dropping his baby off a balcony: "In one case they wanted to jail [Jackson] [...] in the other, it's tradition? Ole, Spain is different."
User Hugo from Barcelona used sarcasm: "What a beautiful image! For us to denounce you to social services"
Supporters of bullfighting, such as Teresa Majeroni, came to Rivera's defense: "Do we have to apologise for taking our children to the bullring? And for snow as well? Absurd!"
On Rivera's Instagram feed, both sides clashed in comments, which numbered over 900. One user branded Rivera's actions as "insane and irresponsible," while many others focused on the issue of bullfighting, calling him a murderer. His defenders highlighted that Rivera was training with a calf, not a fully grown bull, claiming it was a calculated risk, while others congratulated him for his picture: "Dont't let the family tradition disappear!" one user wrote. Rivera later posted a second picture, showing how his father, Antonio Ordoñez, had held him in a similar fashion when he was a child.
Bullfighting remains a divisive issue in Spain. A recent poll showed that close to 60 percent of Spaniards are opposed to the practice, a number that goes as high as 71 percent among those aged 16 to 24, most likely to use social media.