Former soccer star David Beckham is facing a seemingly endless barrage of criticism for his new video promoting Qatar as “perfection,” despite the country’s atrocious record on LGBTQ+, women’s and worker’s rights.In 2021, Beckham inked a deal to be the media-friendly face of the vehemently homophobic Gulf state ahead of this year’s World Cup.
It was initially reported that the gig would net him £10 million ($18 million U.S.), though that’s been updated to a staggering £150 million ($174.3 million U.S.).In the short promo, the self-described “gay icon” says “the modern and traditional fuse to create something really special” in Qatar. “This is perfection for me,” he says of his time there.Qatar Tourism launches marketing campaign featuring #DavidBeckham#Qatar pic.twitter.com/eFmNMXMp90— The Peninsula Qatar (@PeninsulaQatar) August 27, 2022In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment, flogging, or even the death penalty for Muslims under Sharia law.
Sexual activity outside of marriage is punishable by up to seven years in jail, and cross-dressing or any speech considered offensive (including speaking in support of LGBTQ rights) is also against the law.Many are calling attention to the fact that Beckham is also an ambassador for humanitarian aid organization UNICEF.“David Beckham, self-declared feminist [email protected] ambassador, kicks off multi-million pound campaign to bring tourists to Qatar, describing it as an ‘incredible place’…aside from it being illegal to be gay + women still need permission to study or marry,” tweeted Domestic abuse campaigner David Challen.He added: “Women are dependent on men for permission to marry, travel, pursue higher education or make decisions about their own.
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