Joe Lycett has told David Beckham he will give £10,000 to charities that support gay people in football if the sports star pulls out of his World Cup deal with Qatar, and the comedian will shred the money if he doesn’t.
Beckham has been heavily criticised for accepting a reported £10m to be an ambassador for Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal, given that he has previously been viewed as a great ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
In an Instagram video shared on Sunday, Lycett sat at a desk with £10,000 in cash in front of him, and said: “This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon.
“You’re the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do.
“But now it’s 2022. And you signed a reported £10m deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.
“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.”
Lycett told the sportsman that, as he had “always talked about the power of football as a force for good”, he had decided to give Beckham “a choice”.
He said: “If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, as a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football.
“However, if you do not, by midday next Sunday [20 November] 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 benderslikebeckham.com.”
He continued: “Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded. You’ll be forcing me to commit a crime.
“Although, even then, I reckon I get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.
“The choice is yours. I look forward to hearing from you.”
The Independent has contacted Beckham’s representatives for comment.
Many fans are worried about attending the approaching tournament, with some fearing for their safety when in Doha. Other fans have said they will not attend the event specifically because of the country’s laws on homosexuality.
Rainbow flags will be allowed at the World Cup and England have announced that captain Harry Kane will wear a “One Love” armband at the tournament.
Dr Mohamed wrote an open letter to the former England captain claiming, among other things, that the star was guilty of “taking money and looking the other way” because of his promotional work for Doha. He also urged the star to use his “voice” and to “not be silent towards injustice”.