Joe Lycett shreds £10,000 to protest David Beckham's £10 million World Cup deal for homophobic Qatar

20 November 2022, 12:40 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 10:17

Joe Lycett has shredded the money
Joe Lycett has shredded the money. Picture: Twitter/Getty

By Kit Heren

Joe Lycett has kept to his word by shredding £10,000 in protest at David Beckham's £10 million deal to promote the Qatar World Cup.

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Comedian Mr Lycett said he would donate the cash to LGBTQ+ charities if the former England captain ended the sponsorship agreement before the tournament started.

Host nation Qatar has faced criticism over its human rights record and ban on same-sex relationships.

The World Cup begins today with Qatar playing Ecuador at 4pm.

Mr Lycett, who considers himself a pansexual, meaning he is attracted to people of all genders, livestreamed himself destroying the cash on Sunday at around midday.

The video showed a woodchipper in the background with two piles of cash in front.

Mr Lycett walked into shot wearing a rainbow-coloured jacket and put each pile of cash into the woodchipper.

He then stood in front of the camera and walked out of the shot.

The World Cup begins today
The World Cup begins today. Picture: Getty

Beckham, who has long described football as a "force for good", is set to earn many millions as an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.

Read more: England fans paid to 'spy' for Qatar at World Cup

Read more: Three lions ready to roar: Gareth Southgate 's England World Cup squad for Qatar 2022

"This is a message to David Beckham," he said in a video posted to Twitter earlier this week.

"I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon.

"You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans... but now it's 2022 and you signed a reported £10m deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the Fifa World Cup."

He went on: "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... 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 grand 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 benderslikebekham.com.

David Beckham is considered a gay icon
David Beckham is considered a gay icon. Picture: Getty

"Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon, will be shredded."

He said Beckham would be "forcing me to commit a crime" if he did not end the agreement, but said he would likely not be punished as severely as gay people on Qatar are.

"The choice is yours," he said."I look forward to hearing from you."

The World Cup kicks off on Sunday November 20, with England and Wales in group B.

This caller says the UK is 'just as bad [as Qatar] for exploiting migrants and Eastern Europeans'

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

Last week Khalid Salman, a Qatari former footballer and World Cup ambassador, said homosexuality is a "damage in the mind" and gay visitors will have to "accept our rules" before being abruptly cut off.

There is also concern about the country's treatment of migrants, after it was reported that 6,500 foreigners had died in Qatar since it was awarded the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.

A number of key figures including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer are boycotting the tournament as a result.

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