Joe Lycett has apparently shredded £10,000 over David Beckham’s role as Qatar’s World Cup ambassador



CNN

The British comedian appears to have stolen £10,000 ($11,000) in a video after not getting a response from David Beckham about his controversial role as Qatar’s World Cup ambassador.

On Sunday, Joe Lycett began tweeting an hourly countdown to his UK noon deadline (7am ET). At 12pm GMT, he uploaded a video of himself crushing the money on www.benderslikebeckham.com, the website Lycett had tweeted to.

He later posted it on his social media accounts with the caption “platform for progress”, possibly a reference to a statement the soccer star made in a pre-recorded message at the Qatar Supreme Committee’s Generation Amazing youth festival in Doha, where he used those words to describe this year’s World Cup.

On November 13, Lycett, who describes himself as queer on his website, posted a video on Twitter, saying he would donate £10,000 to charities supporting “queer people in football” or put the money in the shredder, along with “Beckham’s reputation as a gay icon,” if the former England captain does not cut ties with Qatar within a week. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in prison.

Beckham did not answer and, in video posted on his Twitter account on Sunday, Lycett appeared to be putting wads of cash into an industrial shredder while wearing a rainbow-colored top.

Former England player David Beckham (L) and NJ.E.  Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad AL-Thani President of Qatar Olympic (R) pose for a picture on November 21, 2021.

Then he bowed to the camera and left. The comedian did not immediately respond to CNN when asked to confirm whether he stole real money.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy recently told CNN that the 2022 World Cup “will be an inclusive, safe tournament” and said that “everyone is welcome, regardless of race, origin, religion, gender, orientation or nationality.”

Earlier this week, world soccer’s governing body FIFA referred CNN to the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy for any comments related to Lycett’s criticism of Beckham and Qatar.

Beckham, contacted by CNN on November 14 through his representatives, declined to comment on the criticism surrounding his ambassadorship. CNN reached out to his representatives after Lycett appeared to be raking in the money, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

“Qatar has dreamed of taking the World Cup to a place it has never been before, but it will not be enough to achieve things on the pitch,” Beckham said at the youth festival. “The field would be a platform for progress.

“Dreams can come true. That’s why you’re here. With Generation Amazing, you share a dual passion for the game of soccer and for making the world a more tolerant and inclusive place.”

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report published in October documented alleged cases of beatings and sexual harassment during detention. According to victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch, security forces allegedly forced transgender women to attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored “behavioral health” center.

“The Qatari authorities must put an end to impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching,” said Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch.

A Qatari official told CNN that the HRW allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false.”

The 2022 World Cup starts in Qatar on Sunday.

Lycett set his sights on Beckham though.

“You are the first Premiership footballer to shoot for a gay magazine like Attitude, who has spoken openly about his gay fans,” Lycett said in a video message last week.

“It’s now 2022. And you’ve signed a £10m deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.”

“If you don’t, by noon next Sunday, I’m going to 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.”

Lycett is not the first person or group to criticize Beckham for his ambassadorship.

Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay last year, told CNN Sport he would like to see Beckham use his platform to support the LGBTQ community instead of promoting the Qatari government.

“If someone like David Beckham with his platform bypasses us and becomes the ally we want him to be, that’s really helpful.

“If he could take that next step and show what he means to the LGBTQ community, that would be fantastic.”



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