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Would you shred £10,000 to stand up for what is right?

Joe Lycett is a British comedian, television presenter, and painter from Birmingham. He is part of the LGBTQ+ community and is not afraid to show his support or his political views. He is known particularly for his playful public stunts including his sarcastic praise of Liz Truss back in September. He insisted to Laura Kussenberg on the BBC show, Sunday with Laura Kussenberg, that he was ‘not being sarcastic’ after mocking Liz Truss and derailing her promises whilst also claiming to be ‘very right-wing’. So now, a couple of months down the line, are we surprised that Lycett has got us talking again?

David Beckham has accepted a whopping £10 million sponsorship with Qatar for the FIFA World Cup. This astonishing amount did not go unchecked by Lycett who claimed Beckham as a gay icon after being the first straight man on the cover of Attitude back in June 2002. So, Lycett made a video and headed to social media. In his video, he gave Beckham an ultimatum: Pull out of the £10 million deal and Lycett will donate £10K to LGBTQ+ sports charities, OR… if he does not hear back from Beckham then Lycett will shred £10K. This message went out everywhere online, and it had me shocked. I couldn’t believe my ears. Shredding £10K to prove a point.

I took to all my social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok to see what people were saying. One person said ‘someone shredding £10K is disgusting in this current climate is absolutely vile. Doesn’t matter what the cause was, absolutely disgusting behaviour’ The comment section in this Sky News TikTok was amusing, someone said ‘it makes him look like a massive Tory.’ The comments just kept coming, slamming him for his actions.

People were well and truly falling for the stunt, and I bet he was laughing at every single person cancelling him.

If you do not know Joe Lycett and his way of getting people’s attention, then you most likely would have fallen for this. In a video released after he supposedly shredded £10K on a live stream he declared, “I would never be so irresponsible. In fact, the 10 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.This is exactly what activism has come to nowadays, going to the extreme to conjure awareness. If Lycett simply tweeted about his dissatisfaction with Beckham it would get lost amongst everyone else’s tweets about how much they fancy Jude Bellingham etc.

It certainly got lots of people talking, people were very quick to stir hate, but one fan said ‘I was surprised how uncomfortable I felt with him shredding real money – which I think is irrational. As someone else said, no one bats an eyelid when Jeremy Clarkson writes off an expensive car.’ That got me thinking. No one would target the super-rich when they do something dumb, but I guess that’s the world we live in.

Overall, the World Cup has almost become a spectacle for people showing their support for multiple causes. Just the other day an Italian protester, Mario Ferri, invaded the pitch with a Superman top with ‘SAVE UKRAINE’ on the front, and ‘RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMEN’ on the back, and a pride flag during the Portugal V Uruguay match. As well as this, if you have been following the FIFA World Cup, some people such as Alex Scott have been wearing the pro-LGBTQ+ ‘OneLove’ armband. As homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, there has been backlash and discussion on whether this is appropriate as other countries shouldn’t assert their culture on another. However, are people getting culture mixed up with human rights?

Isabella Ansell

Nottingham '23

Third year Film and TV student at UoN, and a Reviewer for Her Campus. I love my coffee machine and my dog <3