Attitude REMOVES David Beckham cover in protest over £10m Qatar deal

‘Human rights are not a fashion statement’: Attitude publisher slams David Beckham for ‘turning a blind eye to corruption’ and removes ex-footballer’s magazine cover from office in protest over £10m Qatar deal

  • Darren Styles OBE shared 2002 cover showing Beckham with dyed blonde hair
  • It is accompanied footballer’s quote saying ‘it shouldn’t matter what people are’
  • Mr Styles said magazine had ‘sat proudly’ in Attitude’s offices for two decades
  • But he has now taken it down after the ‘Qataris bought his silence 20 years later’
  • Comes following widespread backlash over Beckham’s £10m ambassadorial role

The publisher of Attitude magazine has removed its famous David Beckham cover from its offices and slammed the footballer for ‘turning a blind eye to corruption’ over his £10million ambassadorial role for the Qatar World Cup.

Darren Styles OBE, owner of the gay lifestyle magazine, has tweeted its 2002 cover showing the former England captain with dyed blonde hair.

The page was accompanied by quotes from Beckham in which he says ‘it shouldn’t matter what people are and it never has done to me’, adding that it is ‘the way I was brought up and the way I’ll always be’.

Mr Styles said the magazine had ‘sat proudly’ in Attitude’s offices for 20 years, but he has now made the decision to take it down after ‘the Qatari’s bought his silence’.

He said: ‘This canvas has sat proudly on the Attitude Magazine office wall for years. I took it down today. 

‘Talking about stuff nobody will talk about is “the way he’s always been, and the way he’ll always be”, David Beckham told us in 2002.  Until the Qataris bought his silence 20 years later.’

Meanwhile a statement from the magazine added: ‘The fall of David Beckham’s star has been fast and heavy. 

‘It’s a reminder that being an advocate for not just LGBTQ+ rights, but women’s rights, immigrant worker’s rights.. and any human rights should not be lip service. It’s not a trend to boost a person’s profile. 

‘Human rights are not a fashion statement to be made to generate coverage in the style pages of tomorrow’s magazines. They are not a new hair cut to stir up media attention. 

Beckham (pictured at the England game yesterday) is understood to have been paid the huge sum for promoting the country and the tournament

Comedian Joe Lycett livestreamed himself ‘shredding £10,000’ after Beckham failed to pull out of his deal on Sunday

Mr Lycett walked into shot wearing a fluffy rainbow jacket and put each wad of cash into the shredder, before posing in front of the camera and walking out of frame

David Beckham famously appeared on the cover of Gay magazine Attitude while at the height of his football career

‘They are real issues that affect the livelihood of billions of vulnerable people around the country. Joe Lycett’s prank worked to highlight the flippant attitude David Beckham has to human rights. 

‘And what price tag he had in order to turn a blind eye to the corruption that awarded Qatar the World Cup by FIFA. 

‘It all amounts to making this year’s so-called “beautiful game’ a truly ugly moment for sport”.

The condemnation of Beckham’s role at the Qatar World Cup, a nation where homosexuality is still illegal and can lead to seven years’ imprisonment, was shared by Tom Daly’s husband Dustin Lance Black today.

He said: ‘When the stakes are life and death, as they so clearly are again globally for LGBTQ people, we need our families and allies to stand close. To show courage. 

‘So let Beckham enjoy his blood money, and by all means, yes, take down his disingenuous covers. Thank you.’

It comes after comedian Joe Lycett livestreamed himself ‘shredding £10,000’ after David Beckham failed to pull out of his deal on Sunday.

Mr Lycett, 34, is one of the most famous openly pansexual people meaning he is attracted to all genders, and he has openly spoken about being queer and advocated for LGBTQ+ rights.

Earlier this month, he said that although Beckham has previously been a vocal supporter of gay rights, he had signed the reported £10m deal with ‘one of the worst places in the world to be gay.’ 

Beckham is understood to have been paid the huge sum for promoting the country and the tournament. He was also pictured inside the stadium during England’s 6-2 win over Iran yesterday.

The ex-footballer has not spoken about the country’s oppressive laws despite warnings over human rights abuses and the country’s abysmal record on LGBT+ issues.

It comes as Qatar’s conservative regime has been clamping down on pro-LGBT football fans with rainbow bucket hats, T-shirts and flags.

The farcical row over Harry Kane and other captains facing a ban from the pitch for wearing a rainbow armband has spilled over to the stadiums of Doha.

Last night former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match. Men, however, were allowed to keep them on.

US football reporter Grant Wahl was stopped by security at the same match and ordered to take off his rainbow T-shirt. 

Former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match with the US last night

US sports journalist Grant Wahl (pictured) was initially refused entry to a World Cup match in Doha, Qatar and had security guards ‘aggressively demand’ he remove his rainbow shirt. He was told it was for his own safety

FIFA says team captains could face a booking and potential suspension if they go through with a decision to wear the OneLove rainbow armband (pictured, England captain Harry Kane). Alex Scott decided to wear it on live TV instead

BBC pundit Alex Scott wore rainbow armband for England game on live TV and declares: Boycotting Qatar World Cup is the ‘easy option’

England may have backed down but BBC presenter Alex Scott defied Fifa’s ban on the rainbow armband as she broadcast from pitchside yesterday.

It was decided at the eleventh hour that England captain Harry Kane would no longer wear the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol against Iran following pressure from football’s governing body.

But BBC pundit Miss Scott took the opportunity to wear the OneLove armband pitchside yesterday at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha during the build up to the England game.

Miss Scott, a former England international with 140 caps, has been a vocal critic of Qatar’s treatment of LGBT people and the country’s human rights record.

‘And once again we reference Infantino from what he said: you are not gay, you will never understand travelling to a country where you are fearing for your life just because of your preference of who you choose to love,’ she said during the coverage of the opening game of the tournament on Sunday.

‘To keep saying that football is for everyone, that’s what he keeps feeding us with, but we sit here and it’s not [for everyone] because people have not been able to travel to watch their team and support their team out of fear.’

She insisted it would have been easy to boycott the tournament and that she went to the World Cup in Qatar because she wants to have the ‘harder conversations’.

Miss Scott said: ‘Actually I’ve had conversations saying, “I should be staying at home, I should be boycotting” and I thought long and hard about it. I think for me personally that would have been the easy option to do just that.

‘I’m here because I love my job and, when I think about it, sitting here and having the harder conversations: we’re talking about the migrant workers, LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking about women’s rights.

‘You think about four years ago, I was the first female pundit for the BBC at a World Cup. You think how far we’ve moved in four years. Let’s hope, in the next four years, we’re never having to have these conversations again.’

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand hit out at the decision of teams to not wear the rainbow armband accusing the countries of ‘folding like a pack of cards’ following a bit of pressure. 

He refused and the Qatari officials questioned him before they eventually backed down. 

One security guard told him that they were protecting him from fans inside who might have attacked him for wearing the shirt.

In May earlier this year, Attitude magazine also accused Beckham of ‘keeping his money just about as far as possible from where his mouth is’.

It was triggered by Beckham’s support for Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels, who came out as gay earlier this year.

‘When we speak about performative allyship, this is what we mean,’ it wrote on Instagram. ‘David Beckham continues to keep his money just about as far as possible from where his mouth is when it comes to the LGBTQ community.’

It added that when Beckham, 47, was asked by the Evening Standard newspaper about Jake Daniels, ‘he responded with the sort of hollow response that our community has become accustomed to expect from the mega rich’.

‘Beckham asks why gay people in sport should be any different to anyone else. One reason that David might consider is that in many places around the world queer people are not only marginalised and oppressed but also persecuted. One such place is Qatar, a country that he is about to become the face of.’

It added: ‘It’s time to demand more from our so-called allies.’

The FIFA World Cup runs began on Sunday and runs to December 18 and is the first held in the Arab world. 

It has been reported that more than 6,500 migrant workers, many helping to build the stadiums, have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the tournament ten years ago.

As the tournament began on Sunday, Mr Lycett shared the livestream of him shredding thousands of pounds. 

The livestream, which was broadcast on a website set up by Mr Lycett called benderslikeBeckham, showed a woodchipper in the background with two wads of ‘cash’ in front of it. 

A seemingly solemn Mr Lycett then walked into shot wearing a fluffy rainbow jacket and put each wad into the shredder, before posing in front of the camera and walking out of frame.

He shared the video of the livestream on Twitter afterwards with the caption ‘A platform for progress’.

Meanwhile, an England LGBTQ+ fans’ representative expressed disappointment earlier this month that Beckham had continued with his role – having previously considered him to be a ‘great ally’ of the community.

The Three Lions Pride group members decided not to travel to the finals which start , amid fears their presence could make the local LGBTQ+ community more vulnerable.

Co-founder Di Cunningham believes players speaking out on LGBTQ+ rights have ‘shown up’ tournament organisers FIFA, but reserved particular criticism for those, like former England captain Beckham, who have been paid to endorse Qatar.

On a webinar hosted by the Sports and Rights Alliance on Wednesday, she said: ‘One of the difficulties we’re having is people taking the money in order to promote Qatar, to promote the World Cup.

‘We’re just so disappointed because the LGBTQ+ community has had David Beckham on a pedestal as a great ally, and then it turns out he’s an ambassador for this World Cup and that’s incredibly disappointing.

‘So I hope the message has got through that people will be criticised for that.’

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