David Beckham may have just landed an impressive paycheck with his latest endorsement deal, but it isn’t being well-received by some. According to a report in the controversial Mail on Sunday, the soccer icon is signing a $13.7 million deal with Qatar, the 2022 host of the World Cup. With Beckham having previously said that he “very honored to have the tag of gay icon” back in 2007, some fans and outlets are insulted by the deal.
David Beckham’s New Deal
The outlet notes that further news of the partnership is apparently being held back out of fear of the massive backlash it could spark due to the country’s historically awful record with gay rights. Homosexuality is outright illegal in Qatar, carrying a 1 to 3-year prison sentence for any men charged under its sodomy laws. While the death penalty is an option, it hasn’t been used as of yet. Same-sex couples cannot adopt or marry, and essentially any discussion of gay rights is forbidden.
The closest bit of progress in the country seems to be the fact that pride flags will be allowed when it hosts the World Cup. When Qatar was first announced as the 2022 host, the poor state of gay rights was a hot topic that left many dismayed by the decision. Beckham’s fellow British celebrity George Michael, who was openly gay, reportedly performed in the country in 2008 without incident, and Beckham allegedly agreed to the deal after being assured that Qatar would ease its persecution of the LGBT community with time. In 2019, however, it was labeled as the second most dangerous place for gay tourists to visit after Nigeria.
There’s No Official Word Yet
We would like to point out that the Mail on Sunday is still a tabloid with its fair share of scandals over false allegations and salacious gossip and is currently involved in a lawsuit with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. That being said, Beckham did celebrate Qatar’s winning bid for the World Cup when it was announced and is closely involved with several Qatari businessmen and soccer supporters, so all we can do is wait to see what official announcements come out as the event gets closer.