David Beckham’s “gay icon status will be shattered” if the former England captain and Manchester United star stays on as Qatar’s World Cup ambassador, British comedian Joe Lessett 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 charity to support “queer football” or give it to “Beckham’s Reputation as a Gay Icon” Throws Together in the Shredder. Had the former footballer not severed ties with Qatar.
Qatar’s Supreme Delivery and Heritage Committee recently told CNN that the 2022 World Cup will “be an inclusive, safe event” and that “all are welcome regardless of race, background, religion, gender, orientation or nationality.”
World football’s governing body, FIFA, referred CNN to the Supreme Delivery and Legacy Committee for any comment related to Lesser’s criticism of Beckham and Qatar.
Reached by CNN through his representatives, Beckham declined to comment on the criticism surrounding his role as ambassador.
CNN reached out to the Supreme Delivery and Legacy Council for comment but has not yet heard back.
“Homosexuality is illegal, you can be jailed, and if you’re Muslim, you can even be executed,” 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 government-sponsored behavioral health centers.
“The authorities in Qatar need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching,” said Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch.
A Qatari official told CNN that Human Rights Watch’s allegations “contain categorically and unequivocally false information.”
World’s only openly gay active professional footballer focuses on LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022
– Source: CNN
Lesser, however, took aim at Beckham.
“You’re the first Premier League footballer to do a photo shoot for a gay magazine like Attitude and openly talk about your gay fans,” Lycett said.
“It’s 2022. You’ve reportedly signed a £10 million ($11.7 million) deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.”
Homosexuality is illegal under Qatari law and carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Lycett said Beckham “has been talking about the power of football as a force for good” and encouraged him to use his platform to fight for LGBTQ rights.
“If you don’t, by noon next Sunday [November 20, 2022], I’ll shredder the money before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it live on a website I’ve signed up for called benderslikebeckham.com. ”
Lycett is not the first person or group to criticize Beckham as an ambassador. Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out last year, told CNN Sports he would like to see Beckham use his platform to support the LGBTQ community rather than promote the Qatari government.
“It would really help if someone like David Beckham gets around us through his platform and becomes the ally we want him to be.
“It would be great if he could take the next step and show the LGBTQ community what he means.”
Human Rights Watch also recently highlighted the “arbitrary arrests and abuse” of LGBTQ people in Qatar.
“With only days until the World Cup begins, the Qatari government has plenty of time to end its abuses against LGBT people,” Human Rights Watch said in a November news release.
“Qatar authorities should publicly condemn violence against LGBT people and formally recognize that same-sex sexual attraction is not a mental health condition.”