Every celebrity who has criticised Qatar's human rights record ahead of World Cup

Every celebrity who has criticised Qatar's human rights record ahead of World Cup
Dua Lipa won't be performing at opening ceremony for 2022 FIFA World …
Cover Video

The Qatar World Cup kicks off this Sunday (November 20) but the host country has received widespread criticism of its human rights record and attitude towards LGBT+ people.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with same-sex relationships being punishable by death in the country.

Khalid Salman recently caused outrage after the Qatari World Cup ambassador described homosexuality as “haram” (forbidden) and "damage in the mind."

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

"Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but our religion and culture will not change for the championship," he later added.

Meanwhile, UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly also received criticism for urging LGBT+ football fans to show "a little bit of flex and compromise" and to "respect the culture of your host nation."

As a result of recent events, a number of celebrities have spoken out against Qatar's stance on human rights and LGBT rights - here are some of the most notable examples:

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa has shut down rumours about her performing at the Qatar World CupPhoto by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Albie Awards

There were rumours about Dua Lipa possibly performing at the tournament but the pop star has denied this and also took the opportunity to speak out against Qatar's human rights record.

“I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiations to perform. I will be cheering England on from afar," she wrote on her Instagram story.

She added: "I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup."

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart turned down an offer to play at the Qatar World CupPhoto by John Phillips/Getty Images For Bauer Media

Rod Stewart has revealed he was offered big money to perform at the Qatar World Cup but turned it down because "it's not right to go."

"I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago," the 77-year-old told theSunday Times.

"I turned it down. It's not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms," he said in reference to Iran supplying drones to Russia - the host of the last World Cup are barred from this tournament.

“Tell you what, supporters have got to watch out, haven’t they," he said of Qatar's human rights record.

The 'Maggie May' singer is thought of as an LGBT+ ally. One of his songs 'The Killing of Georgie,' which was released in 1976 is about the murder of a gay friend which at the time was a rare instance of a mainstream song that spoke of the experience of gay men.

Stewart said it would have been "good" to sing the song as a protest when suggested by interviewer Jonathan Dean.

"I was surrounded by gay men at the time. I had a gay manager and a gay PR guy. Long John Baldry, who discovered me, was gay," the singer said in a 2016 interview with The Guardian as to why he had sympathy for Georgie’s story.

Melanie C

Melanie C attends the Attitude Awards 2022 at The Roundhouse on October 12, 2022 in London, EnglandPhoto by John Phillips/Getty Images

Melanie C has expressed how Qatar's views on gay people make her feel "very uncomfortable," during an appearance on the Not My Bagg podcast.

While the Spice Girl is pals with David Beckham who has received widespread criticism for being an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.

On this matter, she said: “It's difficult. David is a friend, and everybody has to make their own choices ... I understand people want to talk about sport being able to change culture, but when there's so much money involved, it's tricky.”

But Sporty Spice had stronger words on this topic in an interview with Attitudeshe said: "It’s greed. They can try and spin it that they’re there to make change, but it’s bull**** — it’s about money."

“Obviously I’m a huge England supporter, whatever the gender, but it’s hard to get fully behind it when you know where the money’s coming from.”

Joe Lycett

Joe Lycett wants David Beckham to withdraw from his role as Qatar World Cup ambassador Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images

Comedian Joe Lycett has given David Beckham an ultimatum over his role as an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup which is said to be worth anywhere from £10m up to £150m.

Lycett explained that he will donate £10,000 of his own money to charities "that support queer people in football" if Beckham walks away from his role.

However, if the ex-footballer doesn't take action, then Lycett revealed that he will “throw the money into a shredder” during a live stream on from the website he made - - this Sunday (November 20), before the tournament’s opening ceremony.

"This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon," Lycett said while sitting at a desk and later had the stack of cash on camera beside him.

"You're the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do.

"But now it's 2022. And you signed a reported £10m deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.

"Qatar was voted as one of the worst places in the world to be gay. Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, if you're Muslim, possibly even death.

"If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand of my own money, as a grand for every million you're reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football.

"However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday I will throw this money into a shredder just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it live on a website I've registered called," he concluded.

Beth Mead

Photo by Alex Burstow/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

England and Arsenal forward Beth Mead told BBC Radio 4 that the ban on homosexuality in Qatar was “the complete opposite to what I believe and respect”.

Mead - who is in a relationship with her Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema - added: "It’s disappointing in the sense that there’s no respect on a lot of levels, even though it’s a game of football."

“Although I’m cheering for the boys who are going to play football there, from the minute it was announced I thought it wasn’t the best idea.”

Josh Cavallo

Josh Cavallo attends the Attitude Awards 2022 at The Roundhouse on October 12, 2022 in London, EnglandPhoto by John Phillips/Getty Images

Last year, Australian football player Josh Cavallo came out gay - being the first known current top-flight male football player in the world to do so.

He has since expressed his worries about Qatar hosting the World Cup as he told The Guardian: "I read something along the lines of that [they] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared [of] and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that."

Last month, Cavallo raised this issue at the Attitude Awards in London where he urged football authoritative bodies to “consider our rights [and] our safety” when deciding future World Cup host countries.

“I vow to stand up for the LGBTQ+ athletes and the fans at the World Cup in Qatar who can’t live openly or authentically. Qatar, FIFA, the world is watching. Do you see us?”

Ian Hislop

Ian Hislop challenged Gary Neville on his decent to attend the Qatar World Cup as a punditBBC

During an episode of Have I Got News For You,long-time panelist Ian Hislop called out guest host Gary Neville's decision to commentate at the Qatar World Cup.

The ex-footballer asked Hislop "Is it coming home?"

Hislop savagely responded: "What, your reputation?" causing an eruption of laughter from the audience.

But Hislop was keen to apply more pressure on Neville as he felt other panelists had been "very gentle" with the pundit.

"The elephant in the room is you're commentating there. What's the defence?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm commentating," Neville said. "Well, you've got a choice, haven't you?"

"My view always has been that you either highlight the issues and challenges in these countries and speak about them, or you basically don't say anything and stay back home and don't go. And I think we should challenge them."

However, this answer didn't satisfy Hislop who explained: 'The other option is you stay at home and highlight the abuses. You don't have to take the Qataris' money," causing the audience to applaud in agreement.

"It's just not a very good defence," he added.

Richard Madeley

Richard Madeley made his feelings clear on celebs going to the Qatar World CupBBC

The broadcaster who appeared as a guest on Have I Got News For You in the same episode, also criticised celebrities like Robbie Williams for performing or being part of the Qatar World Cup.

"It's unbelievable and it's all about money and you've got mainline celebrities going over there for huge cheques. You've got people like Robbie [Williams] going out there to sing," Madeley said.

"Which I must say I'm very surprised about given all the comments that Robbie Williams has made in the past about gay rights. The fact that he's going out there to sing is extraordinary. I don't know what's happened to people."

Harry Kane

Harry Kane wearing the OneLove armband during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on September 26, 2022 Photo by Michael Regan - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

England captain Harry Kane has opted to wear the OneLove armband throughout the tournament in Qatar.

Other team captains from countries will also sport the armband including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Wales.

The OneLove campaign will "use the power of football to promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination of any kind as the eyes of the world fall on the global game."

“As captains, we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination,” Kane said.

“Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.”

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker has said he's feeling "a little queasy" about the Qatar World CupPhoto by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Gary Lineker has spoken out against Qatar's record on human rights and LGBT+ rights but will still be going to the World Cup as a pundit.

“But I haven’t felt quite the same about this one. I’m a little queasy about it,” he told inews. “The human rights, the deaths building the stadiums, the homophobia in their laws, none of it sits right

“But this is not a one-off, it has happened before. You go back to 1934 and Mussolini tried to use the World Cup to promote fascism. I remember the military junta in 1978 which was awful and a terrible backdrop to that World Cup.

"More recently in Brazil there were demonstrations with people saying we shouldn’t be spending this money on stadiums when our social care system is broken and even in 2018 Russia had invaded Ukrainian Crimea before the tournament.

He continued: “What separates this one from the others is we know it’s corrupt, it has now been proven. Most of the Fifa committee are either in jail, have been banned from football or fined. But we’re stuck with it and the new Fifa incumbents – while they might make mistakes – I don’t think they’re corrupt.

“They’re stuck with it, it was too far down the road to change it and it’s the same for us. We’re going there to broadcast it, journalists are going too but we’re there to report on it not support it.

"We’re not cheerleaders for it and that’s an important thing," he concluded.

Lineker also criticised James Cleverly's comments where the foreign secretary suggested LGBT+ football fans attending the World Cup in Qatar should be “respectful of the host nation”.

"Whatever you do, don’t do anything Gay. Is that the message?" Lineker responded on Twitter.

Gary Neville

Gary Neville hosted an episode of Have I Got News For YouBBC

Gary Neville has received criticism for attending the World Cup as a pundit but noted how he "caught with a few punches on the face on Qatar off Ian Hislop" over the decision when he guest hosted Have I Got News For You.

"Qatar have had Amnesty International and the International Labour Organisation all over them for the last 10 years because of the World Cup. We either decide that we collaborate with these countries, and try and impact change through football," Neville told the Daily Maillast month.

"Or we say we're never going to let them play sport, we're never going to have a World Cup there, we're never going to allow them to compete against us because they don't have what would be as progressive rights as they should have.

He added: "That is the reality of where I'm at with it. There's no-one that I think wants workers' rights to be better than me, there's no-one who wants women's rights, equality or diversity more than me, I absolutely believe in it.

"When I highlight these issues, I can do so from a position whereby if I am covering eight games on beIN in a World Cup, and those issues come up or there's an incident outside the stadium, I will highlight them. I will never shy away from it."

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)