Spanish Bullfighter Draws Outrage for Carrying 5-Month-Old Daughter in Ring

One of Spain's most esteemed matadors has become the target of child welfare officials and social media backlash after posting a picture that appears to show himself cradling his baby daughter in an active bullfighting ring.

Francisco Rivera Ordóñez, who comes from a celebrated bloodline of bullfighters, first posted the picture on his Instagram account Monday under the caption that 5-month-old daughter Carmen is the fifth-generation of family fighters, including his father and grandfather.

NBC News could not immediately confirm the photo as authentic.

A regional ombudsman's office representing children's welfare said in a statement Tuesday that it hopes "such behavior is not repeated" and that it does not become the norm following the negative social media reaction.

The office also said it has transferred its findings to the juvenile prosecutor for "appropriate action."

Rivera Ordóñez, 42, did not immediately comment about the ombudsman's statement. But he didn't back down, also sharing a picture of himself as a child on his father's back with the caption, "History repeats itself."

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His father was acclaimed bullfighter Francisco Rivera Pérez, also known as Paquirri, who was fatally gored by a bull in 1984.

Rivera Ordóñez himself was pierced in the stomach by a bull last August, and has taken a break from the ring.

Meanwhile, Spain's national pastime has come under fire in more recent years as animal rights activists take aim at the perceived cruelty.

The latest incident has attracted the attention of actor and Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, who tweeted Tuesday that Rivera Ordóñez's apparent stunt was "mental, dangerous & cruel. With or without a baby."

Meanwhile, other bullfighters have come to Rivera Ordóñez's defense. Matador Lama de Góngora ‏tweeted pictures Tuesday showing various bullfighters with children seemingly unfazed by the horned beast. Rivera Ordóñez retweeted several of those pictures.