The Dalai Lama, 87, apologized on Monday after footage circulated on social media showing him asking a boy to suck his tongue.
In the video, the Tibetan spiritual leader can be seen sticking out his tongue and then asking the boy to suck it.
The footage was captured at an event in Dharamshala in northern India on February 28.
“His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends around the world, for the hurt his words may have caused,” read a statement posted on the Dalai Lama’s verified Twitter account.
Twitter users strongly condemned the video, labeling it “disgusting” and “absolutely sick”.
“I am completely shocked to see this footage of the #DalaiLama. In the past he also had to apologize for his sexist comments, but asking a little boy to suck his tongue is disgusting,” writes a Twitter user.
“What did I just see? How must that child feel? Disgusting,” wrote another Twitter user.
The Dalai Lama is the universally recognized face of the movement for Tibetan autonomy, but the global prestige he has enjoyed since winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 is waning.
He also faced a barrage of criticism in 2019 after he said in an interview with the BBC that his successor “must be attractive, if it is a woman”. He also apologized for this.
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