‘In no way comparable’: Joe Lycett at center of hypocrisy debate after fan points out he performed in Qatar

Joe Lycett is at the center of a hypocrisy debate over his David Beckham money-shredding stunt after it was pointed out that the comedian has performed in Qatar.

On 13 November, Lycett announced he would shred £10,000 of his own money as well as Beckham’s status as “a gay icon” if the former British footballer didn’t pull out of his World Cup ambassador contract with Qatar.

After no public response from Beckham at the time, Lycett went on to apparently destroy the money on a live stream. He later revealed that the money was fake and he had actually donated it to LGBT+ charities.

But fans have now pointed out that Lycett wrote in his 2016 book, Parsnips, Buttered, that he had taken his comedy to Qatar.

“I was in the Middle East at the time performing stand-up in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar,” he wrote. “Friends of mine had warned me about traveling to these countries, claiming that ‘they don’t like’, as one friend put it, ‘your lot’..

“The punishment for homosexuality in these countries is often jail, the logic of which I’ve never understood. ‘Oh, you like men? We’ll put you in a box with some.’ Not exactly a punishment, lads!”

Sharing the page from Lycett’s book on Twitter, user James Sutherland wrote: “By all means feel free to criticize David Beckham, but don’t be a hypocrite about it.”

A second posted: “Joe Lycett has performed at the Laughter Factory in Dubai, UAE. The UAE has a worse record for migrant workers deaths and similar repressive LGBT laws. He’s a blatant hypocrite.”

A third shared: “Dear David, how dare you go to Qatar and earn money, they are anti LGBT and you should know better!!

“Joe Lycett 2015: I’m going to Qatar to earn loads of money, even though they’re anti LGBT but who cares MONEY right..

“Keep that trip quiet.”

Joe Lycett and David Beckham

(Getty Images)

Many fans also defended the comic. “Joe Lycett doing gigs in Doha and Dubai for a promoter in 2015 is in no way comparable to being paid $150 MILLION in an ambassadorial role directly from the government,” tweeted one person. “To suggest these are in any way comparable or makes him a hypocrite is whataboutery into the next universe.”

Another wrote: “Doing stand-up and working in a homophobic state as a gay man versus being an ambassador and being paid for your endorsement of said country as a straight man are completely different. This is a false equivalence.”

A third person criticized the user who shared the page in the book, writing: “This ‘gotcha’ tweet is so stupid that I find it quite amusing. This eejit really thinks he’s proving some kind of point too.

“If you’ve ever worked in the Middle East, you are not allowed to criticize or draw attention to their appalling human rights record.

“OK James.”

A fourth user tweeted: “Unless @joelycett was paid millions by the government to be a representative and than stayed silent as members of LGBTQ+ community and their allies were actively silenced it’s not at all the same thing.”

The Independent has contacted Lycett’s representatives for comment.

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