Joe Lycett Responds To Reports About His Past Shows In Qatar After David Beckham Saga

The stand-up comedian was among David Beckham's most vocal critics for accepting an ambassadorship role during the 2022 World Cup.
Joe Lycett
Joe Lycett
Kate Green via Getty Images

Joe Lycett has shared a statement in response to reports claiming he previously played live shows in Qatar, after publicly criticising David Beckham for accepting an ambassadorship role with the country.

On Monday evening, The Sun published an article with the headline: “Joe Lycett played gigs in Qatar and Dubai – despite blasting David Beckham for being paid to go there.”

In the piece, they claim that the stand-up comic performed shows in Qatar seven years ago, which Joe addressed on social media the following morning.

“Oops! I’ve been caught out by The Sun!” he joked, before stating he’d done “two gigs in Doha in 2015 and kept it entirely secret by writing about in my own book and mentioning it in multiple interviews, including with the NY Times”.

Setting the record straight, he continued: “If you’re interested, I was paid a few hundred quid (not by Qatar but by UK comedy promoters) but it was 2015 and that went a lot further back then.

“I reckon that if a popular comedian from those days (eg Shane Ritchie) had shredded a few hundred quid to persuade me not to go, it would have made a difference.

“But who can say? I don’t have the perfect hindsight and spotless morality of, to pick a completely random example, The Sun newspaper.”

Last month, the stand-up comedian publicly criticised David Beckham for accepting a role reported to be worth £100 million to serve as an ambassador for Qatar during the 2022 World Cup.

A mural of David Beckham near the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar
A mural of David Beckham near the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar
Mike Egerton via PA Wire/PA Images

In a video posted on social media, Joe claimed that if David pulled out of the deal he would donate £10K of his own money to charities supporting LGBTQ+ people – but if he didn’t, the comic would shred the money instead.

When David failed to pull out of the deal – or even acknowledge Joe’s video – the former Great British Sewing Bee host appeared to hold up his end of the deal, sharing a video of him throwing £10K into a shredder.

However, he later confirmed that the whole thing was a stunt.

David finally referenced the situation via a statement from his publicist last week, which said: “David has been involved in a number of World Cups and other major international tournaments both as a player and an ambassador and he’s always believed that sport has the power to be a force for good in the world.

“Football, the most popular sport globally, has a genuine ability to bring people together and make a real contribution to communities.

“We understand that there are different and strongly held views about engagement in the Middle East but see it as positive that debate about the key issues has been stimulated directly by the first World Cup being held in the region.

“We hope that these conversations will lead to greater understanding and empathy towards all people and that progress will be achieved.”

Joe isn’t the only public figure to have called out David for his Qatar deal, with former Great British Bake Off star John Whaite stating: “I think it’s disgusting, he’s cheapening himself.”

Meanwhile, pop singer Will Young said: “The decision to take the alleged £150 million over 15 years is greedy enough, the burying of your head in the sand from you, your team and your advisers is repellent and cowardice personified.”


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