Robbie Williams DEFENDS decision to sing in Qatar during World Cup after Dua Lipa, Rod Stewart and Shakira confirmed they WON’T perform at opening ceremony
- Robbie Williams defended his decision to perform in Qatar during the World Cup
- The singer said it would be ‘hypocritical’ to boycott it over human rights abuses
- Williams said he wouldn’t perform anywhere if he based gigs on rights concerns
- Stars including Rod Stewart and Dua Lipa have refused to perform in Qatar
Robbie Williams has defended his decision to perform during the highly controversial World Cup in Qatar, claiming it would be ‘hypocritical’ not to go.
His comments come after stars Dua Lipa, Rod Stewart and Shakira all confirmed they would boycott the competition’s opening ceremony tomorrow.
Williams, 48, has been blasted for performing at the World Cup despite international condemnation of Qatar’s human rights record including its criminalisation of homosexuality and links to Islamist extremism.
The former Take That member argued that it would be wrong not to perform because of human rights concerns, because he has already performed in countries with objectionable regimes.
He added that if he refused to play in places where human rights were abused, ‘I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen’.
Williams, who has reportedly ‘toyed’ with the baseless Q-Anon conspiracy theory in the past, is set to perform on December 8 and has been tipped to take part in the opening ceremony in Doha on Sunday alongside K-pop star Jungkook.
The singer performed at the opening ceremony in the World Cup in Russia in 2018 despite Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Robbie Williams, 48, said if he made decisions about performing based on human rights abuses, ‘I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen’
Williams performed at the opening ceremony of the Russia 2018 World Cup despite the annexation of Crimea and various human rights abuses by Vladimir Putin’s regime
The former Take That singer claimed it would be ‘hypocrisy’ not to play his gig during the World Cup in Qatar
He also allegedly sang to a group of Putin’s inner circle in 2014 after being asked by then-Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, since sanctioned by the UK government.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Il Venerdì di Repubblica, Williams said: ‘Of course, I don’t condone any abuses of human rights anywhere.
‘That being said, if we’re not condoning human rights abuses anywhere, then it would be the shortest tour the world has ever known. I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen.’
He added: ‘Anybody leaving messages saying “no to Qatar” are doing so on Chinese technology. It would be hypocritical of me to not go [to Qatar] because of the places that I do go to.
‘I think that the hypocrisy there is that if we take that case in this place, we need to apply that unilaterally to the world. .. Then if we apply that unilaterally to the world, nobody can go anywhere.’
Williams’ defence sparked an angry backlash online, with many condemning his decision to perform in Qatar and his reasons for doing so, while others posted memes mocking the singer.
Williams’ defence of his planned show in Qatar sparked an angry backlash online
One critic joked on Twitter: ‘I didn’t have “Robbie Williams confesses to killing 6000 migrant workers in his kitchen” on my last-days-of-Twitter bingo card.’
Another asked: ‘What human rights has he been abusing his own kitchen then?’
While another added: ‘Just be honest and say the money was too good to pass up.’
Several global stars have refused to take part in the opening ceremony of the Qatar World Cup, and it is still not clear who will perform.
The most likely appearance is Jungkook of K-pop megastars BTS, rumoured to have already arrived in Qatar on Friday.
Rock Legend Rod Stewart said he turned down a $1 million offer to perform there 15 months ago.
Shakira (pictured performing at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010) will not be performing at the World Cup in Qatar
Pop star Dua Lipa has said she will not perform in Qatar, adding she would visit the country when it has fulfilled its human rights pledges
Sir Rod Stewart has said he turned down a $1 million offer to play at the World Cup because ‘it’s not right to go’
US rapper Lil Baby has released an official sponsorship song for the Qatar World Cup but has not announced if he will perform at the tournament
He told The Times: ‘I refused. It’s not right to go,’ the 77-year-old British singer said, adding that it was ‘respect for human rights in general’ that had led to his decision.
Dua Lipa, 27, who has a huge LGBT fanbase, had also been tipped for an appearance, but she shut down the rumours in a post to her 87 million Instagram followers.
‘I will not be performing and have not been involved in any negotiations to perform in Qatar,’ the ‘Levitating’ singer wrote, adding that she would support England ‘from afar’.
‘I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host,’ she added.
Another star slated to perform was Shakira, who has been a regular at previous World Cups while married to Spanish footballer Gerard Pique.
She was the voice of the 2010 edition in South Africa, alongside local group Freshlyground, for the official theme ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’ and performed four years later in Brazil.
But her team recently told Spanish news outlets that she would no longer be performing in Qatar, without giving a specific reason.
US rapper Lil Baby, who has 32 million monthly listens on Spotify, released one of the official sponsorship songs this year, ‘The World Is Yours to Take’, which samples the Tears for Fears classic, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’.
But he has remained silent on whether he will actually make an appearance in Qatar.
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