Attitude magazine denounces David Beckham for Qatar deal after Joe Lycett shreds famous cover

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21:  David Beckham attends the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)
David Beckham at England's opening World Cup game against Iran on Monday in Doha, Qatar. (Getty Images) (Richard Sellers via Getty Images)

Gay lifestyle magazine Attitude has accused David Beckham of having a "flippant attitude to human rights" over his controversial sponsorship deal with Qatar for the World Cup.

The former England captain has been criticised for being the face of the 2022 tournament, which has earned him a reported £10m.

He famously graced the cover of Attitude in 2002, at the time of the tournament in Japan and South Korea.

But Attitude has been critical of Beckham since he signed the deal with Qatar, and on Monday it accused him of using human rights as a "fashion statement".

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

Comedian Joe Lycett shredded the famous 2002 Attitude cover featuring David Beckham. (Joe Lycett/Twitter)
Comedian Joe Lycett shredded the famous 2002 Attitude cover featuring David Beckham. (Joe Lycett/Twitter) (oe Lycett/Twitter)

Beckham's involvement with Qatar has been the subject of a popular media campaign by comedian Joe Lycett, who threatened to shred £10,000 of cash if the former player didn't pull out of the deal.

Lycett revealed on Monday that he hadn't in fact destroyed the money the previous day, but donated it to LGBTQ+ charities.

Instead, he shredded Beckham's famous Attitude cover and posed the video on Twitter. Attitude's official Twitter account responded: "The pleasure is all ours."

In a statement, Attitude editor-in-chief Cliff Joannou said: "The fall of David Beckham's star has been fast and heavy.

"It's a reminder that being an advocate for not just LGBTQ+ rights, but women's rights, immigrant workers' rights... and any human rights should not be lip service."

Watch: David Beckham ignores reporter's question in Qatar

Read more: Joe Lycett shreds £10,000 in protest at David Beckham's Qatar World Cup deal

Joannou added: "It's not a trend to boost a person's profile. Human rights are not a fashion statement.

"They are real issues that affect the livelihood of billions of vulnerable people around the country.

"Joe Lycett's prank worked to highlight the flippant attitude David Beckham has to human rights.

"And what price tag he had in order to turn a blind eye to the corruption that awarded Qatar the World Cup by Fifa.

"It all amounts to making this year's so-called 'beautiful game' a truly ugly moment for sport."

On Monday, Lycett revealed he hadn't shredded real money, saying: “I would never be so irresponsible."

Lycett offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started, and if not, he said he would livestream himself shredding the money along with Beckham's "status as gay icon".

The famous Attitude magazine cover featuring David Beckham from 2002. (Attitude)
The famous Attitude magazine cover featuring David Beckham from 2002. (Attitude) (Attitude)

The Birmingham-born comedian appeared to stand by his decision in a video shared on the same day as the opening game of the tournament, but on Monday he came clean.

He said: "I haven't quite told you the whole truth, because the truth is the money that went into the shredder was real, but the money that came out was fake.

"I would never destroy real money, I would never be so irresponsible. In fact, the £10,000 had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities before I even pressed send on the initial tweet last week."

Beckham was in the stadium in Doha for England's opening game against Iran on Monday, which they won 6-2.

In 2015, Beckham said an ongoing Fifa corruption scandal was "disgusting", but that he believed the 2022 tournament should not be moved.

Last week, he defended Qatar's hosting of the World Cup, calling it a "platform for progress".

Beckham's representatives refused to comment.

Watch: Joe Lycett reveals he didn't shred £10,000 in David Beckham protest