Morgan Freeman criticized for opening Qatar World Cup ceremony

Morgan Freeman has been heavily criticized for helping to officially launch the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

  • READ MORE: From the archives – in praise of Morgan Freeman

The Oscar-winning actor, who helped present America’s own bid for the World Cup in 2022 in 2010, narrated the opening segment ‘The Calling’ at Al-Bayt Stadium in Doha.

He told the crowd: “We gather here as one big tribe and Earth is the tent we all live in. Football spans the world, unites nations in their love of the beautiful game. What brings together nations also brings together communities. We all have a story on football and how it brought us together and this country has a story of its very own.”

Freeman also spoke with Qatari influencer Ghanim al Muftah, a 20-year-old FIFA World Cup ambassador who was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome that impairs the development of the lower half of the body.

Freeman’s appearance was criticized by many on Twitter, with one user writing: “For a man who played Nelson Mandela – who knew better than anyone the impact & importance of isolation on a country & its success on the ground to change that nation’s policy – ​​it is so disappointing to see #MorganFreeman take the money & support an oppressive regime.”

Another called him a “sell out”, while one user used a Simpsons meme with a character carrying suitcases of cash back to the US.

One user also said: “Hope the Qatari blood money was worth you selling out for Shameful.”

Others did praise the actor with one writing: “I just read the full narration Morgan Freeman gave at the opening and I must say it is Captivating, the world needs to listen!”

Another added: “Morgan Freeman’s skit at the World Cup opening ceremony has a rare sense of DEPTH. Beyond his blessing of a great voice, is the TRUTH in his message. ‘What unites us here at this moment is so much greater than what divides us’. If only we abide by this!!!”

It comes as Qatar and World Cup organizers have faced ongoing criticism regarding the death of migrant workers in the creation of stadiums and the country’s views on homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.

Earlier today (November 20), Joe Lycett threw £10,000 into a tree shredder, in protest of David Beckham’s involvement.

The comedian criticized Beckham’s role as a tournament ambassador, which has reportedly netted him £10 million.

Robbie Williams meanwhile defended his decision to perform at the World Cup Qatar 2022 though. “I don’t condone any abuse of human rights anywhere,” Williams said. “But, 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”.

Meanwhile, BTS’ Jung Kook also performed the official World Cup anthem ‘Dreamers’ with Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi at the opening ceremony.

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