Today in dumb as hell: the Daily Mail runs an extensive article on Harper Beckham’s pacifier use, and David Beckham tells them to STFU.

The article in question collects both parenting experts and a bizarre smattering of photos featuring Harper, age four, avec pacifier (or, as it is referred to in the United Kingdom, “dummy”). Hand-wringing ensues, with the help of former midwife Clare Byam-Cook:

“I can’t believe [Harper] is still using a dummy. If she has a dummy in their mouth at this age, at four, it can really damage her teeth and it is very likely to hinder speech development...You are far less likely to speak if you have a dummy in your mouth than if your mouth is free. Many dentists will agree that dummy use at this age really is not good.”

Good grief, people. Slow your respective rolls.

But Byam-Cook and the Daily Mail want the Beckhams to understand that their dummy-related decisions could have a worldwide impact on parenting practices. “David and Victoria seem wonderful parents,” Byam-Cook acknowledges, “and I’m sure they give Harper lots of attention but, like it or not, they are role models and lots of people will see this and think that having a dummy at this age is normal when it is not.”

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Maybe. Or maybe other parents will continue to determine what is best for their children on a case by case basis with the aid of pediatricians and knowledgable family and friends. Who knows.

David Beckham responded to this agitated bit of journalism on Instagram, posting a screenshot of the article to accompany his comments.

“Why do people feel they have a right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts?? Everybody who has children knows that when they aren’t feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it’s a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people’s children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent.”

Fair enough, David.

Being a celebrity means coming to terms with ubiquitous public scrutiny. But such unnecessary hoopla must be difficult to countenance.


Contact the author at rachel.vorona.cote@jezebel.com.

Top Image via Getty. Embedded Image via Instagram.