One of the artists behind a theme song of the 2022 World Cup stopped a live TV interview and walked out after he was asked about the issue of Qatar’s human rights record.
During a broadcast on Israeli public television in Qatar, Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma left the set calling Israel’s KAN News chief international correspondent Moav Vardi “rude.”
Viral video shows the singer was asked about stars including Shakira and Dua Lipa, who refused to be involved with the World Cup due to Qatar’s poor record on human rights.
In the taping, Vardi asked: “Don’t you have a problem with human rights violations in this country?”
“Yeah but it’s something I can’t resolve. I just came here to enjoy life, enjoy soccer and the party of soccer,” Maluma responded. “It’s not something that I actually have to be involved with. I’m here enjoying my music and the beautiful life, playing soccer too.
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Vardi then pushed Maluma on the matter, asking if he understands why people might have an issue with his response.
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“But can’t you understand that people (are) gonna say, by the very presence of you here, you are helping whitewashing (the situation),” the reporter asks.
“Do I have to answer that question?” Maluma said, looking off screen.
Someone heard off set is then heard telling him no.
“You’re rude,” Maluma told the reporter, then stood up and walked off the set.
A campaign to promote diversity and inclusion in soccer at the 2022 World Cup was stifled ahead of Monday’s games. Following FIFA’s threat of yellow cards for any players wearing the “OneLove” armbands during the World Cup, the federations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have asked their captains not to wear them.
“We can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games,” the federations said in a joint statement Monday.
It’s another move in which FIFA appears to side with Qatar, where LGBTQ people have been arrested and abused while in custody, according to Human Rights Watch. The federation on Friday banned alcohol sales at World Cup stadiums, a rule reversal that seen as a way to placate Qatar, where drinking in public is not allowed.
Maluma teamed up with hip hop star Nicki Minaj and Lebanese singer Myriam Fares for the latest addition to the official soundtrack of the World Cup in Qatar.
The single “Tukoh Taka,” with lyrics in English, Spanish and Arabic, was released on Friday, two days ahead of the start of the tournament.
It’s the latest in a series of songs by artists from around the world released as part of FIFA’s official soundtrack of the 2022 World Cup.
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Contributing: Nancy Armour and Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY; Associated Press
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.