British comedian Joe Lycett didn’t shred £10,000 ($11,800) like he claimed on Sunday at the start of the World Cup, saying on Monday the money was actually “donated to LGBTQ+ charities before I even got up.” Pressed send on the first tweet last week.”
Lycett had urged English football icon David Beckham to step down as ambassador to Qatar during the World Cup over the country’s human rights record, particularly its stance on homosexuality, which is illegal in the Gulf state.
Lycett said he received no response from Beckham, which led to him sharing a video of himself appearing to be shredding the money.
“I told you I will smash £10,000 if you don’t end your relationship with Qatar before day one of the World Cup, and then when you didn’t end your relationship or even react in any way, I streamed myself 10,000 thrown in a shredder, right?'” Lycett said on social media.
“I wasn’t telling you the whole truth – because the truth is that the money that went into the shredder was real, but the money that came out was fake. I would never destroy real money.
“I would never be so irresponsible. In fact, before I even hit send on the first tweet last week, the 10,000 had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities. I never expected to hear from you, it was an empty threat to get people talking.”
CNN has reached out to Joe Lycett’s representatives for details on which charities were donated to, but Stonewall has confirmed that it was one of the charities that received a donation from Lycett.
Lycett went on to shred Beckham’s June 2002 Attitude magazine cover, which marked the first time a Premier League footballer had appeared on the cover of Attitude.
“I asked Attitude if I could shred it and they were more than happy to oblige,” Lycett said.
Attitude, a leading UK LGBTQ magazine, responded to Lycett on Twitter, saying: “The pleasure is all ours.”
On November 13, Lycett, who describes himself as queer on his website, posted a video on Twitter saying he would donate £10,000 to charities that support “queer people in football” or that the money would be shared with “Beckhams Reputation as a gay icon” if the former England captain does not sever ties with Qatar within a week.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and can be punished with up to three years in prison.
David Beckham’s reps did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy recently told CNN that the 2022 World Cup will be “an inclusive, safe tournament” and said “everyone is welcome regardless of race, background, religion, gender, orientation or nationality” .
Last week, world football’s governing body FIFA referred CNN to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for all comments on Lycett’s criticism of Beckham and Qatar.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released in October documented alleged incidents of beatings and sexual harassment during detention. According to victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch, security forces allegedly forced transgender women to attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-funded “behavioral medicine” center.
“The Qatari authorities must end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching,” said Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch.
A Qatari official told CNN that HRW’s allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false.”
In his social post on Monday, Lycett described the stunt as “an empty threat designed to get people talking.”
“In many ways it was like your Qatar deal, David. Total bulls**t from the start,” he added.
The World Cup began on Sunday, with hosts Qatar losing 2-0 to Ecuador.