10:39 AM EDT, June 18, 2014
A photo of a young mom in cap and gown breastfeeding her baby right in the middle of her graduation ceremony is sparking outrage.
A reporter on HLN said, "A California mom created a big time stir on Facebook."
Wendy Williams said, “She proudly posted a picture online that caused outrage.”
A reporter on KCAL said, "A local college graduate's photo online is causing strong reaction."
The picture of Karlesha Thurman went viral and so did the backlash. One critic called it "gross." Another said, "inappropriate.”
Now, the new mom is speaking out to INSIDE EDITION saying she's stunned by the negative online reaction, saying, “What is going on here? I am in total shock."
She read online comments like, "'Did I just see a pic of a chick breastfeeding at her graduation?' To answer that, yes, you did!"
She showed INSIDE EDITION the adorable baby at the middle of the breastfeeding firestorm.
The 25-year-old earned her accounting degree from Long Beach State University. To celebrate, she brought her three-month-old daughter to the ceremony. When little Aaliyah became hungry, mom breastfed her right on the spot. Some criticize her for not using a small blanket for discretion.
Karlesha said, “I didn't have a small or modest cover with me. Everything was in the audience with my family.”
Others support her. She told INSIDE EDITION others have told her, “'This is a powerful picture. This shows this is trying to normalize breastfeeding.'”
Karlesha says she posted the photo to encourage other moms to breastfeed and has no regrets.
She said, “What I did was feed my child when she was hungry. As a parent that's what I am supposed to do and I am very proud of it.”