Comedian Joe Lycett, 34, issued an ultimatum to former England footballer David Beckham, 47, after it was reported he had signed a £10 million deal to be an ambassador for FIFA World Cup hosts, Qatar.
The tournament kicks off on Sunday with matches across the country where homosexuality is still illegal and can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
The Birmingham-born comedian unveiled the deadline last week in a video posted on social media in which he offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started.
If not, Lycett has said he will livestream himself shredding the money along with Beckham’s “status as gay icon”.
In the video message directed at Beckham, Lycett commended the footballer for always talking about “the power of football as a force for good” but said Qatar is “one of the worst places in the world to be gay”.
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Lycett told him: “If you end your relationship with Qatar, I will donate £10k 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, I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it right here.
“Not just the money, but also your status as gay icon will be shredded.
“Also, you’ll be forcing me to commit what might be a crime. Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.”
Many took to social media to urge the star to donate the money to a food bank rather than shredding it at a time when the cost of living is soaring.
Malcolm wrote: “Just a thought @joelycett but shredding it does nobody any good. Maybe giving it to a queer charity or a food bank would be more useful.”
Kev echoed: “Please don’t shred it Joe. Spread it out and give it to a few different charities.”
And Sarah pleaded: “Admire the reason behind this, but please don’t shred it, not when there’s so many people struggling and in need at the moment. Donate it to charities instead.”
However, some others voiced their support for Joe’s ultimatum.
Including a user named Bob who commented: “Shred it, put it all into a clear plastic box and display it at an art show with a plaque: ‘Beckham’s Reputation’.
“Donate ticket sales to good charities, easily clear more than 10k with people wanting to see the 10k bits.”
Beckham and Lycett’s representatives have been contacted for comment.