David Beckham accused of 'hypocrisy' over meeting with royals during World Cup

David Beckham meets with Prince William and Kate Middleton.
David Beckham met with Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Earthshot environmental prize, attracting criticism for his use of a jet to travel to America from Qatar. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

English football icon David Beckham's recent visit with Prince William and Kate Middleton has sparked further backlash in the wake of his FIFA World Cup ambassador role, after he took a flight from Qatar to Boston to attend the awarding of the Earthshot environmental awards. Beckham drew substantial criticism and accusations of being a mouthpiece for World Cup hosts Qatar after it was revealed he had been paid millions to attend the tournament.

Beckham was reportedly paid as much as $17.7 million to attend the World Cup as a guest of Qatar, prompting criticism from fans, many of whom have been critical of the nation's laws against homosexuality. The 47-year-old has become an icon among the LGBTI+ community, after in 20902 becoming the first heterosexual man to appear on the cover of gay publication Attitude magazine.

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Not only has Beckham come under fire from an array of fans for what has been considered tacit support of Qatar, the decision to jet back to America to attend an environmental event has also been questioned. Critics have suggested taking a flight purely to attend an event dedicated to environmentalism somewhat defeated the purpose.

Snapped among a raft of other celebrities and dignitaries, Beckham witnessed the allocation of $1.8 million to five recipients in order to help further environmental projects. In a speech to the ceremony, Beckham noted the devastating impact on the environment human progress has wrought.

"Now, I'm an optimist because humans are capable of great creativity when we collaborate," he said. "We create beauty in art, music, film, and of course, sport. We create things that bring us comfort in this challenging world.

"But, we also create waste. We make over 300 million tonnes of plastic per year. That's the equivalent, in weight, to every adult on Earth." On social media however, his comments were met with scepticism as fans and commentators took aim at the football legend.

Comedian challenges David Beckham over World Cup role

Qatar has been widely criticised for its human rights record, with discrimination against women and homosexuals among the numerous issues coming under the world's microscope in the lead-up to the tournament.

Speaking about Beckham's involvement with Qatar and the football icon's standing in the gay community, British comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycett challenged the England and Manchester United legend to pull the pin on his £10million ($AUD17.5 million) deal as a sign of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

In a video shared on social media which has since gone viral, Lycett said he would destroy £10,000 and 'remove David Beckham's gay icon status' if the football great didn't back out of his partnership with Qatar.

"This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon. 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," Lycett said in the video.

Cars pass an advertisement board featuring Qatar ambassador David Beckham during the FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Cars pass an advertisement board featuring Qatar ambassador David Beckham during the FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

"But now, it's 2022 and you signed a reported £10million 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.

"You've always talked about the power of football as a force for good, which suggests to me that you've never seen West Brom, but generally I agree."So with that in mind, I'm giving you a choice.

"If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this £10,000 of my own money - that's 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.

"Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded. You'll be forcing me to commit a crime, although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught [engaging in sexual activity with another man] in [Qatar capital] Doha. The choice is yours. I look forward to hearing from you."

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