Joe Lycett is at the center of a hypocritical debate over his money-smashing stunt with David Beckham after it was suggested the comedian was performing in Qatar.
On November 13, Lycett announced he would wipe out £10,000 of his own money as well as Beckham’s status as a “gay icon” if the former British footballer didn’t end his World Cup ambassadorial deal with Qatar.
After Beckham didn’t give a public response at the time, Lycett apparently destroyed the money in a livestream. He later revealed that the money was fake and that he had actually donated it to LGBT+ charities.
But fans have now pointed out that Lycett wrote in his 2016 book: parsnips, buttered, that he had brought his comedy to Qatar.
“I was in the Middle East at the time performing stand-up in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar,” he wrote. “Friends of mine had warned me against traveling to these countries, claiming that ‘they don’t like’, as one friend put it, ‘your lot’.
“The penalty for being homosexual in these countries is often prison, the logic of which I have never understood. “Oh, you like men? We’ll put you in a box with some.” Not exactly a punishment, boys!”
Sharing the page from Lycett’s book on Twitter, user James Sutherland wrote, “You can certainly criticize David Beckham, but don’t be a hypocrite.”
A second wrote: “Joe Lycett has performed at the Laugh Factory in Dubai, UAE. The UAE has a worse record for migrant worker deaths and similar repressive LGBT laws. He is a blatant hypocrite.”
A third shared: “Dear David how dare you go to Qatar and make money they are anti LGBT and you should know better!!
“Joe Lycett 2015: I’m going to Qatar to make a lot of money even though they’re anti-LGBT but who really cares about MONEY..
“I kept this trip quiet.”
In response, Lycett tweeted on Wednesday (December 21): “If you’re interested I was paid a few hundred pounds (not by Qatar but by British comedy promoters) but it was 2015 and it was much further along then.”
He also pointed out that he has been very open about performing in Doha, writing about it in his book and mentioning it in interviews. Read his full statement below.
Many fans also defended the comic. “Joe Lycett performing for a promoter in Doha and Dubai in 2015 is in no way comparable to getting paid $150 MILLION directly from the government in an ambassador role,” one person tweeted. “To claim that these are in any way comparable or make him a hypocrite is a leap to the next universe.”
Another wrote: “Getting up and working in a homophobic state as a gay man or being an ambassador and getting paid to support this country as a straight man is something else entirely. That is a false equivalence.”
A third person slammed the user who shared the page in the book, writing: “That ‘have’ tweet is so stupid I find it quite amusing. This Eejit really thinks he wants to prove something too.
“If you have ever worked in the Middle East, you are not allowed to criticize or draw attention to the appalling human rights situation.
A fourth user tweeted, “If @joelycett wasn’t paid millions by the government to represent and then remained silent when members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies were actively silenced, it’s not the same at all.”
This story has been updated with Lycett’s comment
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/comedy/news/joe-lycett-performed-qatar-b2249164.html Joe Lycett responds amid hypocrisy debate after a fan pointed out he’s performed in Qatar