A photo of Boris Johnson sticking his foot on a table during talks in Paris with the French president triggered unflattering comments on social media.
But users on both sides of the Channel who called the UK prime minister’s actions insulting might have been jumping to conclusions.
A video appears to show Mr Johnson was responding to a joke by his host.
Emmanuel Macron seems to suggest the table could also be used as a footstool before Mr Johnson lifts his right boot.
One British user accused Mr Johnson of poor manners, saying: “Imagine the outrage on the British tabloids if a foreign PM did this in Buckingham Palace!”
“They clearly don’t teach good manners at Eton,” wrote another, using the hashtag #yob.
Tony Blair’s ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell did not see the funny side.
“It’s embarrassing that the newly-elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom takes so long to go and see the German Chancellor and French President and then sticks his feet up on the President’s table,” he told the PA news agency.
“It might sound trivial but it just shows a complete arrogance and disrespect.”
But Sky News political correspondent Tom Rayner offered a different perspective on the incident, saying it was part of a good-humoured exchange.
French media have made light of the incident, too.
“No, Boris Johnson did not insult France by putting his foot on the table in front of Emmanuel Macron,” was the headline on a story by Le Parisien newspaper, which then outlines the light-hearted exchange between the two.
“Internet is quick to react – and sometimes overreact,” it added.
In the eyes of French media, at least, it seems the prime minister did not put his foot in it this time after all.