Images of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson putting his foot on a table in the French president’s official residence during Brexit talks drew the ire of critics, but was it an overreaction?
Johnson met Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday in the plush surroundings of the Elysee Palace with the world’s media watching.
Johnson sat in a low chair and briefly -- for less than a second -- put his right foot on a coffee table, after joking that it looked like a footstool.
Macron, facing his guest from a couch on the other side of the small round table, appeared unperturbed and smiled at the move. Johnson apologized with a wave and laugh.
But still images seemed to tell a different story, freezing Johnson at the moment his foot touched the table and giving added weight to the gesture.
“Rude and embarrassing. Imagine if Macron put his foot on the table at Buckingham Palace?” wrote Sonia Purnell, Johnson’s biographer.
“Boris Johnson is an entitled, opportunistic, venal bluffer. Brexit is embarrassing our nation on so many levels,” David Jennings tweeted.
It didn’t help Johnson that he has a long history of political controversies from his time as a columnist with The Telegraph newspaper.
In one of his more slapstick moments, Johnson, then mayor of London, got stuck on a zip wire to promote the 2012 Olympics.
Three years later in a game of street rugby Johnson was filmed ploughing through a 10-year-old schoolboy in Toyko.
The Elysee called Thursday's encounter with Macron "complete" and "constructive."