British readers will be well aware of Joe Lycett, who is a well known comedian across the pond. Lycett has been a mainstay of many popular British comedy panel shows, and currently has his own program, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back. He is known for his comedic publicity stunts, as well as being a prominent member of the LGBT+ community.
So for those who followed him, it came as no surprise that he decided to speak out against David Beckham’s involvement in the World Cup in Qatar. Qatar has long been criticized worldwide for its inhumane treatment of gay people. Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal, and offenders could be put in jail for up to seven years. Beckham is working for Qatar’s government as a brand ambassador for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Lycett released a video to his Twitter calling out Beckham for his role. As part of the video, the comedian stated that unless Beckham pulled out from his role in the World Cup, Lycett would shred £10,000 (approximately $12,000) in a live video. If Beckham did pull out, Lycett explained, that money would be donated to charity.
“The choice is yours,” said Lycett.
Beckham has been embraced as an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and widely celebrated for supporting his fans regardless of their orientation. However, for many people, this represents an end to that support. “Not just the money, but your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” finished Lycett.
As might be expected, Beckham did not respond by the time set out by Lycett. Seemingly true to his word, Lycett live streamed himself somberly throwing money into a paper shredder. Doing so would be a crime under British law.
“A platform for progress” pic.twitter.com/EeMelv01nu
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) November 20, 2022
The following day, Lycett released a follow up video explaining that, surprise surprise, he had not actually shredded the money. “The ten grand had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities before I even hit send on the initial tweet last week,” revealed Lycett. There was never any expectation on the comedian’s part that Beckham would even respond, much less actually pull out of his multi-million dollar deal with Qatar. It was part of yet another publicity stunt from the comedian, a trend that those who know him would not be surprised about.
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) November 21, 2022
It seems to have made an impression. His series of videos have all gathered millions of views and brought increased media attention to Beckham and the issue. Of course, with the World Cup being the most watched television event in the world, there is a lot of attention being paid to the country. Lycett has done a small part in contributing to the undeniably complex conversation. And he did it using comedy.