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Joe Lycett hits back at ‘hypocrisy’ criticism over David Beckham Qatar stunt


omedian Joe Lycett has rebutted accusations of hypocrisy over his criticism of David Beckham’s links with Qatar.

The performer hit headlines after pretending to shred £10,000 in protest at Beckham’s promotion of Qatar’s World Cup, where being LGBT is criminalised.

However, a Sun newspaper article pointed out that the comic had been paid for gigs in the country early on in his career.

Lycett said he was paid a “few hundred quid” for the shows and said he never tried to hide them – adding he may have reconsidered playing them had a high-profile comedian shredded money in protest at the time.

The Sun’s article reported on people who pointed out Lycett had performed in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. One, Melanie Sweeting, tweeted: “I don’t understand why you are so angry as I remember seeing you perform here in Qatar at the Radisson Blue at the Laughter Factory!

“You didn’t seem to have a problem taking Qatari money that night?”

In response to the article, Lycett said: “Oops! I’ve been caught out by The Sun!

“I did two gigs in Doha in 2015 and kept it entirely secret by writing about it in my own book and mentioning it in multiple interviews including with the NY Times!

“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.”

It comes after Beckham responded to Lycett’s stunt in a statement shown on a Channel 4 special of his ‘Got Your Back’ series.

A spokesperson for the former footballer, 47, said he sees it as “positive” that debate about “key issues” has been “stimulated” by the contest being held in the country.

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