David Beckham’s ‘gay icon status will be shredded’ if the former England captain and Manchester United star continues in his role as Qatar’s World Cup ambassador, British comedian Joe Lycett said on Sunday .
In a video posted on TwitterLycett, a British comedian who describes himself as queer on his website, said he would donate £10,000 ($11,000) to charities supporting ‘queer people in football’ or put the money in the chipper with “Beckham’s reputation as a gay icon.” if the former footballer has not cut ties with Qatar.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy recently told CNN that the 2022 World Cup will be “an inclusive and safe tournament” and said “everyone is welcome, regardless of race, origin, religion, sex, orientation or nationality”.
World football governing body FIFA referred CNN to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy over any comments relating to Lycett’s criticism of Beckham and Qatar.
Beckham, contacted by CNN through his representatives, declined to comment on criticism of his ambassadorship.
CNN contacted the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for comment but did not receive a response.
“Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, if you are a Muslim, possibly even death,” Lycett said in an Instagram post.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released in October documented alleged cases of beatings and sexual harassment. 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.
“Qatari authorities must end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching,” said Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch.
A Qatari official told CNN that HRW’s allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false.”
World’s only openly gay active professional footballer worries about LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022
– Source: CNN
Lycett, however, takes aim at Beckham.
“You are the first Premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to talk openly about your gay fans,” Lycett said.
“Now it’s 2022. And you’ve signed a £10m ($11.7m) deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.”
According to Qatari law, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.
Lycett said Beckham had “always spoken of the power of football as a force for good” and encouraged him to use his platform to campaign for LGBTQ rights.
“If you don’t, by noon next Sunday [November 20, 2022]I’m going to throw that money in a paper shredder just before the World Cup opening ceremony and broadcast it live on a website I 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 an ally that we want him to be, that’s really helpful.
“If he could take the next step and show what he means to the LGBTQ community, that would be fantastic.”
HRW also recently shed light on the “arbitrary arrests and mistreatment” of LGBTQ people in Qatar.
“There are only a few days left until the World Cup kicks off, but it’s plenty of time for the Qatari government to end the mistreatment of LGBT people,” HRW said in a press release. of November.
“Qatari authorities should publicly condemn violence against LGBT people and formally recognize that same-sex attraction is not a mental health issue.”