A British comedian is being hailed around the world after calling out football great David Beckham over his multi-million dollar partnership with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Manchester United and England legend signed on to be the face of the Qatar showpiece, which gets underway on Monday, November 21 (AEDT).
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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.
"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."
Social media erupts over David Beckham challenge
Lycett's challenge to Beckham has sent the internet into a frenzy, with users applauding the comedian for calling out Beckham and shining a spotlight on concerns around the Qatar World Cup.
"Joe Lycett is the superhero that we didn't know we needed, but we do"@OwenJones84 supports @JoeLycett's plan to shred £10,000 if David Beckham doesn't come out against Qatar's record on LGBTQ rights.@StormHuntley | #JeremyVine pic.twitter.com/tzW8sKq8vA
— Jeremy Vine On 5 (@JeremyVineOn5) November 14, 2022
Joe Lycett is the evil genius we never knew we needed. I really hope that David Beckham steps down from his role with Qatar before Sunday but I don’t think he will.
— Dave (@DaveCalChetty) November 14, 2022
What a brilliant challenge to #DavidBeckham over his money-grabbing deal to promote #Qatar as 'perfection', despite its abuse of women, LGBTs & migrant workers!
I feel so ashamed of #Beckham - and SO PROUD of Joe! https://t.co/XDvO2oWelW
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) November 14, 2022
Well @joelycett absolutely crucifying David Beckham is my favourite thing of the week. Beckham should understand that even now his brand value is worth more than ten million. Peak stupidity, greed & yuck. He deserves all the pie he’ll get for his grubby payday. Idiotic.
— Georgie Bingham (@georgiebingham) November 13, 2022
While support for Lycett has been overwhelming on social media, other users have questioned why he would threaten to destroy the money at all, rather than donate it to a charity.
“Please don’t shred the money. That’s a lifeline to a small charity,” one user wrote.
Another remarked: “Could you include a clause that the £10k could actually go to a cause instead of being wasted? Loads available. Or maybe to Beckham’s pet hate. But not totally wasted.”
Am I meant to respect Joe Lycett shredding £10,00 as a protest if Beckham goes to Qatar when actually he could donate it to a charity like Rainbow Railroad or any other LGBT grassroots org anyway??????
— Matthew (@_MatthewMC_) November 14, 2022
Should Joe Lycett shred £10,000 if David Beckham goes to Qatar?
The comedian made the threat over Beckham's multimillion-pound sponsorship deal.
But, Joe says he'll donate the money to LGBTQ charities if Beckham stays at home.
Is it wrong to shred so much money in protest? https://t.co/AtYticNnk6
— Jeremy Vine On 5 (@JeremyVineOn5) November 14, 2022
Just in case anyone wasn't sure, Joe Lycett performatively shredding £10k as a stunt is 100x worse than David Beckham being an ambassador for the World Cup.
Imagine being so detached from reality that you think destroying money whilst so many are struggling is a noble gesture.
— Chezbomb 💣🎆 (@cheryloIivia) November 15, 2022
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