Comedian Joe Lycett has admitted that he did not shred £10,000 of his own cash in a stunt aimed at ‘gay icon’ David Beckham.
The 34-year-old presented the former England footballer with an ultimatum to pull out of a mega money sponsorship deal with Qatar or he would destroy the money.
The comic set Beckham a deadline of midday on 20 November to take action after it was reported he had signed a controversial £10 million deal with the Fifa World Cup hosts.
Lycett has now revealed that he did not actually shred £10,000 in a live streamed stunt on Sunday (20 November) and instead donated the cash to LQBTQ+ charities.
It came as the issue of workers’ and LGBTQ+ rights is still a hot topic in Qatar in the build up to the 2022 World Cup. Homesexuality is still illegal in the country and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
In a video message posted on Twitter on Monday, the comedians said: “This is my final message to David Beckham. It’s me. That p***k who shred lots of money in the cost of living crisis.
“So where were we? I told you I was going to destroy £10,000 if you didn’t end your relationship with Qatar before the first day of the World Cup. And then when you didn’t end your relationship or even respond in any way, I streamed myself dropping 10k into a shredder.
“Or did I? I haven’t quite told you the whole truth. The truth is the money that went into the shredder was real, but the money that came out was fake. I would never destroy money. I would never be so irresponsible.
“In fact, the ten grand had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities before I even pressed send on the initial Tweet last week. I never expected to hear from you. It was an empty threat designed to get people talking. In many ways it was like your deal with Qatar David, total bulls**t from the start. I’m not even queer, only joking."
Lycett then went on to say that while he did not shred the cash, he has found something else to shred - Beckham’s Attitude magazine cover from June 2002. He added: "This is the first ever cover of a gay magazine with a Premier League footballer on it. I asked Attitude if I could shred and they were more than happy to oblige."
He then proceeded to shred the magazine before adding: "Gosh, it’s all been quite a lot hasn’t it. I’m off down the gay village to have a few pints."
It comes after the Birmingham-born comedian appeared briefly on a Twitch stream dressed in a flamboyant rainbow-layered tulle outfit on Sunday as he placed wads of what appeared to be cash into an industrial shredder, after which he calmly curtseyed to the camera and walked off screen.
The video has been shared on his Twitter page along with the caption “a platform for progress”.
In a previous video message directed at Beckham, Lycett commended the footballer for always talking about “the power of football as a force for good”, but added that Qatar is “one of the worst places in the world to be gay”.
He told the footballer: “If you end your relationship with Qatar I will donate ten grand of my own money (that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting) to charities that support queer people in football.
“However, if you do not I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it right here. Not just the money, but also your status as gay icon will be shredded.
“Also you’ll be forcing me to commit what might be a crime. Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.”
Beckham is yet to publicly acknowledge or respond to the ultimatum, prompting Lycett to begin counting down the hours until the deadline.
On Saturday (19 November) the comedian tweeted a photograph of what appears to be a stack of cash with the caption “24 hours to go…” and #benderslikeBeckham. It followed a tweet posted on Friday (18 November) of an image of a large woodchipper with the caption “48 hours to go”.
Lycett’s ultimatum has received a mixed response from fans with many taking to social media to instead urge the star to donate the money to a food bank rather than shredding it at a time when the cost of living is soaring.