Blend It For Beckham: British Comedian Appears To Shred £10,000 To Protest Footballer's World Cup Partnership
Ever been so angry at an ad campaign that you shredded ten grand of your own money? If so, then you might be controversy-prone British comic Joe Lycett, who, in the culmination of a week-long campaign against English football legend David Beckham over his ambassador role for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, appeared to shred £10,000 on camera yesterday to celebrate/commiserate the opening ceremonies of the tournament.
On Sunday, November 13, the comedian posed an ultimatum to Beckham promising to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham, who had long been an ally to Britain’s gay community, pulled out of an ad campaign promoting the World Cup in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal and can be punishable by death. If Beckham refused, that £10,000 would be shredded, along with Beckham’s “status as a gay icon.”
Beckham ignored the challenge and chose a reported payout of £150 million over his fans and friends in the LGBTQ+ community, so Lycett released a bizarre snuff film in which he seems to toss stacks of notes into a wood chipper while wearing a poofy rainbow sweater before curtsying to the camera.
Lycett has previously attracted international attention for legally changing his name to Hugo Boss to protest unfair copyright claims and for feuding with Royal Dutch Shell in his documentary Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant. The Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI mainstay started the website BendersLikeBeckham.com in promotion of his most recent stunt (benders is a British slang term for homosexuals) to encourage others in the LGBTQ+ to demand answers of the sports star who previously championed the gay community during his playing career.
In 2002, Beckham posed for the cover of Attitude, UK’s most popular gay magazine, and spoke on his surprisingly strong relationship with the gay community, saying he was “honoured to have the tag of gay icon.” Having the country’s biggest star in a sport that has historically been riddled with homophobia publicly declare allyship made the gay community strongly supportive of Beckham for decades.
Then, this past summer, Beckham began a bizarre media blitz wherein he released a series of tourism videos for Qatar which John Oliver described as “David Beckham doing a bad Anthony Bourdain cosplay.” When fans questioned Beckham’s decision to promote a country which the international rights group Human Rights Watch has accused of committing shocking and widespread acts of violence against its LGBTQ+ citizens, Beckham claimed that the World Cup would be a “platform for progress and tolerance.”
Lycett was unconvinced – so much so that he was apparently willing to destroy £10,000 of his own money just to make a point. Destroying government notes is a crime in the U.K., as Lycett pointed out, but, “Even then, I reckon I get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.”
After an initial outrage over the shredding of such a sum in the midst of a cost of living crisis in the U.K., Joe Lycett came clean early this morning and claimed that the stacks of cash from the video didn’t actually go into the shredder, and the resulting cloud of chopped-up cash was from prop bills, not real ones. Lycett donated £10,000 to LGBTQ+ charities before he even launched the campaign, not expecting an acknowledgement or acquiescence from Beckham. “It was an empty threat designed to get people talking,” Lycett admitted to Beckham.
Said Lycett, “In many ways, it was like your deal with Qatar, David. Total bulls— from the start.”