On Sunday (20 November), Lycett followed through with his pledge to destroy the money (£1,000 for every £1m of Beckham’s alleged deal) if the footballer didn’t end his contract in protest against Qatar’s stance on LGBT+ issues.
Had he done so, Lycett had said that he would have donated the money to charities supporting gay people in football, while Beckham’s status as a “gay icon” would have remained intact. It is illegal to be gay in Qatar.
In the days before the stunt, many had speculated whether or not Lycett would go through with the campaign, with the comic having shared an email earlier in the week where he told Beckham’s publicist that he “really didn’t want to shred 10 grand”.
However, Lycett appeared on the livestream on Sunday wearing a tulle jacket in the colours of the Pride Progress flag to silently destroy the money. He then curtsied for the camera and walked off.
The stunt has left fans divided. Some said that, while Lycett’s aims were noble, the money would have been better to go to charity.
“I know the message is so important but there are so many LGBT charities this money would have made a massive difference to,” one commenter wrote.
Another tweet read: “Do wish you had given the money to food banks or homeless charities. I could NEVER destroy money when it could do some good for those with nothing.”
While i understand you are making a point, but all I can think about all the people who are struggling financially.
— Jackie Brown (@jaxs30) November 20, 2022
“I understand you are making a point, but all I can think about all the people who are struggling financially,” another commented.
One Instagram commenter wrote that the money could have gone to a food bank as the country heads into recession instead.
However, others argued that Lycett’s stunt was supposed to be upsetting, just as the issue is.
Seeing both sides, one fan said: “I get the Joe Lycett thing. It is uncomfortable. All you can think about is that the money should be put to good use. But that’s the point. Protests don’t work without causing feeling of discomfort. And Beckham taking millions he doesn’t need is the bigger issue here.”
One tweet read: “To anyone who thinks that Joe Lycett went too far with BenderslikeBeckham, please understand that the point of a protest is to do something shocking and contentious. If you don’t like the way that someone protests, take away the need for the protest.”
Fair play. Be upset about the lack of accountability shown by David Beckham, not £10k spent on this awareness campaign by @joelycett. Uncomfortable, yes. But protests should be. #benderslikeBeckham https://t.co/EMdyZ8lRN8
— Lerryn Clare (@LerrynClare) November 20, 2022
“If you feel uncomfortable about Joe Lycett shredding £10,000, that’s exactly the point,” one commenter wrote. “It’s a statement on discomfort and money: at Qatar’s oppression of gay people and David Beckham profiting from them. It’s performance art. It’s supposed to make you feel.”
“Why is @joelycett getting more grief than Beckham about shredding this money,” one person said, claiming that Beckham’s deal went against “everything he has claimed to believe in”.
“This has raised awareness of how little people still value LGBTQ lives, it’s raised awareness of how people who claim to be allies can be bought and it raises awareness of how vile this whole farce of a world cup is... That’s a lot for 10k. This was art,” one tweet read.