Speed Reads

A Bad Look

Dalai Lama apologizes after asking young boy to 'suck his tongue'

The Dalai Lama apologized on Monday after a video emerged of the Tibetan religious leader kissing a young boy on the lips and asking him to "suck [his] tongue." 

In a statement posted on his official website, the Dalai Lama's office said he "wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused." His office added that the Dalai Lama "often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras," and that he "regrets the incident." 

The incident in question reportedly took place in March in Dharamshala, India, at the Dalai Lama's temple where he also lives, CNN reported. The Dalai Lama was sitting with a group of students when the boy asked if he could give him a hug. 

The video shows the boy approaching the Dalai Lama, who is seen asking the boy to kiss him first on the cheek, and then kisses him on the mouth. The Dalai Lama is then seen staring at the boy for a few seconds before sticking his tongue out and asking the boy to "suck my tongue." The boy then sticks his tongue out for a moment before the pair move away from each other. 

BBC News noted that sticking one's tongue out can be a form of greeting in Tibet, where the Dalai Lama is originally from and where the school of Tibetan Buddhism in which he serves as leader is based. However, his actions garnered widespread criticism on social media, with some calling it akin to child grooming. 

It is "absolutely shameful," and "not a joke and it is not funny. This is not a tease, this is not funny," journalist Norman Goh tweeted