IMAGE: British comedian Joe Lycett shreds a cover of the 2002 edition Attitude Magazine featuring David Beckham. Photograph: Joe Lycett/Twitter
A British comedian who appeared to shred 10,000 pounds in banknotes in protest at the former England soccer captain David Beckham’s decision to take on a role as an ambassador for Qatar at the World Cup said on Monday he faked the stunt.
Beckham, who played for Manchester United and Real Madrid as a midfielder, is working for Qatar, which has been criticised for its treatment of foreign workers, LGBTQ+ rights and restrictive social laws.
Joe Lycett said last week he would donate the money to charity if Beckham agreed to cut ties with the World Cup host or he would shred the money before the tournament began.
On Sunday, he appeared to put the money into a woodchipper but now said he never actually shredded the cash and money has instead been donated to a LGBTQ+ charity.
“It was an empty threat designed to get people talking,” Lycett said.
“I would never destroy any money. I’d never be so irresponsible. In fact, the ten grand had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities,” he said, before shredding a cover of the 2002 edition of Attitude magazine, featuring Beckham. Attitude a British gay lifestyle magazine.
Beckham has not publicly acknowledged or responded to the ultimatum.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and the country’s organisers of the World Cup have warned visitors against public displays of affection but say that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome at the event.
The country has also denied accusations of abusing of workers and bribery to win the hosting rights.