After Hilary Duff and her music-producer husband Matthew Koma appeared to have allowed their 3-year-old daughter Banks to ride in a car without a car seat or seatbelt, prompting criticism, Koma is responding — by trolling concerned commenters.
The trouble began when Duff’s Younger costar Molly Bernard, who is also Banks’s godmother, shared an adorable clip on Instagram on Monday of herself and the little girl hanging out in a back seat. According to reports, Duff and Koma were up front, out of view, in the driver and passenger seat of the car.
In the clip, Bernard films Banks as she hilariously quotes RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alyssa Edwards by saying to the camera, “I don’t get cute. I’m drop dead gorgeous.”
“You heard the girl,” Bernard captioned the video, which also featured a series of photos of the duo being silly together and playing dress up.
But despite the cuteness, commenters were not laughing. Many of them pointed to the fact that Banks was not in a car seat and did not seem to be wearing a seatbelt — going against state law in California, where the family lives, which says that children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back. The law also dictates that if a child has reached 4’9” in height, they must at least be secured by a safety belt.
“I love all of you but Banks not in a car seat breaks my CPST heart,” one comment read, with another saying, “Child endangerment. California law requires children in a car seat or a booster depending on age/height and weight.”
“Why isn't she strapped into a 5 point harness car seat?” one follower asked.
Another added, “Worked a fatality accident involving a 4 year old, no car seat, no booster. Only lap belt. Broke her neck and lap belt severed organs in belly. There is a reason for these recommendations.”
Koma did not appear to take the criticism well; instead, he decided to troll some of the folks expressing concern.
“You’re the kind of person who cuts up a kid’s Apple sauce, hey?” Koma responded to someone who’d written in the comment thread, “It’s against the law. This is child endangerment.”
Later, responding to a fan who recommended Koma and Duff check out an organization called @carseatsforthelittles, he wrote, “You truly are a hero for speaking up.”
Meanwhile, some commenters did come to the parents' defense, with one writing, “While yes I agree the seatbelt should be properly worn it definitely looks like she is in a booster. It is clear that this precious girl loves Molly and that there is no bad intent here. I’m sure this will be used as a learning experience but for people to be calling for a cps investigation that is really far to take this.”
Another fan criticized the media, specifically the gossip site TMZ, for overhyping the issue.
“I love that there were literally 72 comments on this post and tmz had the nerve to post all the ‘outrage,’” they wrote. “Like geez must be a slow news day… relax all you keyboard warriors stop being so judgy. I’m sure she’s strapped in most of the time. Just enjoy the vid. And she is gorgeous.”
This isn't the first time Duff and Kuma's parenting has been scrutinized by fans.
In May 2020, social media users accused the Lizzie McGuire star of partaking in sex trafficking after she shared a video on her Instagram Story of her then 8-year-old son Luca laying down nude, despite having covered up his private parts with a sticker in the video.
She deleted the post, but later tweeted, “Everyone bored af right now I know..but this is actually disgusting. Whoever dreamed this one up and put this garbage into the universe should take a break from their damn phone. Maybe get a hobby.”
Everyone bored af right now I know..but this is actually disgusting..... whoever dreamed this one up and put this garbage into the universe should take a break from their damn phone. Maybe get a hobby
— Hilary Duff (@HilaryDuff) May 23, 2020
Duff and Koma have two daughters together: Banks, 3, and May James, who is just 9 months. Duff shares her son Luca, 9, with ex Mike Comrie.