“Live and let live” is apparently a policy that world championship-winning Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton is not a strong advocate for.
On Christmas Day, in a now-deleted Instagram post, Hamilton sparked backlash after publicly shaming his 4-year-old nephew for wearing a pink and fuchsia dress. “I’m so sad right now. Look at my nephew,” Hamilton began in the video, which then panned to his nephew wearing the dress and waving a wand by a Christmas tree.
That’s when the line of questioning began, as Hamilton encroached upon his nephew, camera still rolling. “Why are you wearing a Christmas dress? Is this what you got for Christmas? Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?”
“Because we like them!” the boy shouts back. “Boys don’t wear princess dresses!” Hamilton countered.
Of course, the internet being the internet, the video was captured by one Twitter user, who remarked that Hamilton had just “opened a can of worms.” “The kid looks genuinely happy! Just let him enjoy his little life without having social norms imposed on him,” the user continued in a Twitter thread.
The criticism didn’t stop there, with many pointing out the cruelty of filming a young person without their consent, only to publicly humiliate them.
Others shared the way behaviors like this by their relatives impacted them then and into adulthood.
And others brought up Hamilton’s other indiscretions — like his history of tax dodging.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Lewis issued an apology on Twitter, in a series of tweets, stating:
Yesterday I was playing around with my nephew and realised that my words were inappropriate so I removed the post. I meant no harm and did not mean to offend anyone at all. I love that my nephew feels free to express himself as we all should.
My deepest apologies for my behavior as I realize it is really not acceptable for anyone, no matter where you are from, to marginalize or stereotype anyone.
I have always been in support of anyone living their life exactly how they wish and I hope I can be forgiven for this lapse in judgement.
From Adele’s son dressing up as Frozen’s Anna, to a U.K. mom going viral for shutting down a stranger trying to shame her son for dressing as Frozen’s Elsa, boys do wear princess dresses — and there are parents out there who are standing up for their kids’ choices and shutting down those gender roles while doing so. Disney XD’s Star vs. the Forces of Evil even added a male princess in November.
In fact, boys do many things like ballet, arts and crafts — some even play with Barbies and wear makeup. But it’s not just boys who can wear princess dresses. It’s anyone who so chooses, since garments themselves have no gender.
Dec. 26, 2017, 2:15 p.m.: This post has been updated.