David Beckham has been issued an ultimatum by comedian Joe Lycett to withdraw his support for the World Cup in Qatar.
Lycett, whose brand of comedy has incorporated activism in the past, such as legally changing his name to Hugo Boss and hosting a Pride event in his home town, released a video on his social channels over the weekend criticising Beckham’s involvement in the 2022 World Cup.
The former England, Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy midfielder has been a staunch supporter of gay rights throughout his career but has agreed to be an ambassador for Qatar in a deal Lycett claims is worth £10 million in his video. Others have inflated that figure closer to 15 times that number.
Joe Lycett’s message to David Beckham, over his involvement in the 2022 World Cup
“This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon,” Lycett told the camera in his video, sat at a desk with £10,000 of his own money in front of him.
“You’re the first Premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do.
“But now it’s 2022. And you signed a reported £10m deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup. Qatar was voted as one of the worst places in the world to be gay. Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, if you’re Muslim, possibly even death.
David Beckham has been labelled a “gay icon” by Joe Lycett – but his status is under threat, according to the comedian (Image credit: Getty)
“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this 10 grand of my own money, as a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football.
“However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday I will throw this money into a shredder just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it live on a website I’ve registered called benderslikebeckham.com (opens in new tab).
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded. You will be forcing me to commit a crime.”
Beckham is yet to comment on the video, while same-sex relationships are banned in Qatar.