Thousands have rushed to defend retired footy star Beau Ryan after he fell victim to online trolls who took issue with him kissing his seven-year-old daughter Remi.
The 34-year-old had shared a photo on Instagram of him kissing Remi on the cheek at a water park despite the youngster appearing reluctant to receive the embrace.
He wished Remi a happy birthday, while warning boys at her school only he had the privilege of kissing her.
Critics trolled ex-NRL star Beau Ryan after he shared a photo of him kissing his seven-year-old daughter Remi and added a caption warning off other boys
Ryan (pictured with Remi) added if they tried to give her a smooch they should remember he had ‘lebo mates, a shovel and an alibi’
Ryan jokingly added if they tried to give her a smooch they should remember he had ‘lebo mates, a shovel and an alibi’.
Critics responded to the post by saying the NRL legend’s body language was ‘possessive’, and the caption warning off boys was overbearing.
But thousands of social media commenters have now rushed to support Ryan, with one saying the online trolls were an indictment on modern-day society.
‘What is gross and disgusting is people abusing a father for loving his child,’ one social media user wrote on Daily Mail Australia’s Facebook page.
‘Nothing wrong with the picture. Just a show of love and affection from a father …what’s wrong with others who are so quick to judge.’
Another hit out at those who said the ex-athlete’s behaviour was overly-protective.
‘It is possible to protect and love your children without being possessive. Horrible attack on Beau here, not fair at all,’ they said.
One person, meanwhile, reflected when Remi was older she would cherish the photo rather than cringe at it.
Ryan, originally from Wollongong, married long term partner Kara Orrell in 2012
A poll in an earlier story by Daily Mail Australia found only 17 per cent of readers thought Beau Ryan’s post was inappropriate, while 78 per cent did not have a problem with it.
5 per cent, meanwhile, were on the fence.
The full Instagram post by Ryan had said: ‘I love that you still love me kissing your face off. And for those wondering I’m the only guy that’s allowed to kiss her.
‘If any of the boys at your school try, I want to remind you I have lebo mates, a shovel and an alibi,’ he quipped.
Critics were quick to comment on the little girl’s body language, accusing Ryan of failing to respect his daughter’s boundaries and of being ‘possessive.’
‘She’s very clearly embarrassed and uncomfortable, yet you think as her father you have the right to force unwarranted affection on her? Way to teach her that her boundaries don’t have to be respected,’ one person said on Facebook.
The 34-year-old wished his little girl a happy birthday in a sweet Instagram post saying he was proud to be ‘her daddy’, before warning any boys not to get any ideas
‘She doesn’t look like she loves that her face is being kissed. For the love of god, my husband and I ask my 6-year-old if she wants a hug or kiss before doing it,’ a mum wrote.
Another said Ryan’s comment banning other boys from kissing her seemed overbearing and problematic.
‘Yeah I’m sorry. You seem to have good intentions but this comes off as really possessive and gross. She doesn’t seem to like your energy either. If you couldn’t find a happy photo of her being kissed by you, maybe you should respect her boundaries.
Critics were quick to comment on the little girl’s body language, accusing Ryan of failing to respect his daughter’s boundaries and being ‘possessive’
‘And yes. Kids have boundaries. Even if they’re *your* kids. It’s not too late to learn and become better. Please take your daughter’s hints.’
‘I wouldn’t care if the kid didn’t look INSANELY uncomfortable,’ another added.
‘We’re supposed to teach our kids to have boundaries, which in turn means respecting their boundaries. Because when they grow up, if even we didn’t respect them, they won’t know how to have healthy boundaries.’
The post sparked a debate in the comments with others saying it was normal for children to be embarrassed by their parents’ affection.
‘I’m sure we all have a photo like this when we was kids with out dads or grandad giving us a kiss,’ one said.
The post sparked a debate in the comments with others saying it was normal for children to be embarrassed by their parents’ affection
‘It’s like, ‘ewww people will see you kissing me and your embarrassing me’, but really ya don’t care it’s just a pose. It’s her dad people get a bloody grip. I kiss my girls all the time so why’s it wrong for a father to?’
‘Pretty standard for a kid to be embarrassed when a parent is showing affection in public. The kid would probably have the same reaction if her mother did this. It’s a bit of humour!’ said another.
Others fired back at critics for turning the father’s post for his daughter into a controversy.
‘Takes a special kind of person to jump on a father’s post and be negative when he is pouring out his heart about the love for his daughter. Keep doing you Beau Ryan,’ one comment said.
‘Are people really on here having a go at a proud father wishing his daughter a happy birthday?
The former West Tigers player is yet to respond to the backlash.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ryan for comment.
Ryan, originally from Wollongong, married long-term partner Kara Orrell in 2012.
The couple welcomed their first born Remi in 2013 and have a two-year-old son named Jesse.
Earlier this year, Ryan had to leave his family for five weeks while shooting The Amazing Race Australia.
At the time, the former footy star said it was ‘so hard’ because he was ‘a needy guy’.
One person claimed it was ‘pretty standard’ for a child to react in such a way to her parents’ affection