Joe Lycett urges David Beckham to respond to World Cup ultimatum

The queer comedian has pledged to shred £10,000 of his own money if David Beckham continues his public endorsement of the Qatar World Cup.

A split image with a photo of Joe Lycett on the left and a photo of David Beckham on the right.
Image: Via YouTube: Novara Media (Left) Visit Qatar (Right)

Queer comedian Joe Lycett has put pressure on David Beckham to respond to his ultimatum, issuing an update on social media. In a Twitter post from yesterday, November 16, Lycett shared an email he reportedly sent to “Beckham’s PR” team. In it, he reiterated his commitment to shredding £10,000 if Beckham “doesn’t end his relationship with Qatar.” This comes ahead of the Qatar World Cup kicking off on November 20, the same day as Lycett’s deadline.

The email begins with Lycett admitting to getting himself “into a bit of a pickle,” adding, “I’ve been a bit daft and publicly announced that I’m going to shred £10k on Sunday if David doesn’t end his relationship with Qatar or donate the cash to LGBTQ+ charities if he does, yet we’re now four days out and I haven’t heard a peep from him.”

He reportedly asked David Beckham’s PR team to see if Beckham “might budge on his position”. He concluded the message by saying, “There’s still time for David and his team to do the right thing”. Lycett admits that he doesn’t want to shred the money, but also said that he doesn’t want someone who has historically supported the queer community to publicly endorse the Qatar World Cup. The country has come under scrutiny leading up to its hosting of the tournament, due to its human rights issues. In Qatar, homosexuality is criminalised, punishable by prison sentences and even the death penalty under Sharia law.

Joe Lycett’s online campaign has garnered major attention on social media, though Twitter users are divided in their response. Some describe the idea of shredding £10,000 as “disgraceful” given the current rise in the cost of living. One Twitter user writes: “Rather than trying to blackmail into donating why not make a statement saying that you will donate the money and be the bigger person over him instead? He’s a footballer at the world’s biggest football event. Don’t waste money that could feed a family for months. Be better.”

Contrastingly, one user supported the idea, saying they are “Genuinely baffled by those saying he shouldn’t shred his own money. It’s literally the whole point of the stunt, it’s highlighting the issue and if anything, shredding the money will generate even more publicity about it. It’s more cost-effective than spending 10k on advertising.”

According to Joe Lycett, David Beckham has until before the opening ceremony to end his relationship with Qatar. If not, he has committed to shredding the money via a live stream on the campaign’s website. Talking about the potential event, he said that “Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded”.

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