Comedian Joe Lycett shreds £10,000 – and David Beckham's status as a "gay icon"

Joe Lycett and David Beckham
(Image credit: Joe Lycett)

Joe Lycett has followed through on his promise to shred £10,000 in protest of David Beckham's support of Qatar and the 2022 World Cup – and with it, the former England captain's reputation as a "gay icon".

TV personality Lycett who combines activism into his brand of comedy has previously hosted a Pride march in his home town and legally changed his name to Hugo Boss in the past. Last week, he revealed that he was prepared to shred his own money on a website registered with the domain benderslikebeckham.com (opens in new tab), in response to Beckham getting paid to be an ambassador for the nation.

"This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon," Lycett said. "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.

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"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.

"If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand 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, 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 benderslikebeckham.com (opens in new tab). Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded. You will be forcing me to commit a crime."

Close-up shot of David Beckham smiling

"Gay icon" Beckham has come under fire for his relationship with Qatar. (Image credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Lycett has since followed through on his promise, shredding the money, calling the video, a "platform for progress". 

Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine and the possibility of a death penalty for Muslims under sharia law.

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