David Beckham was criticised when he appeared in the US city of Boston to present an accolade during The Earthshot Prize ceremony on Sunday night having jetted in from Qatar.
The retired footballer, 47, has been in the Middle East for the World Cup but he flew to America to present a £1m award in the Build a Waste-Free World.
And, while the sportsman was met with rapturous applause as he walked out on stage, viewers at home were less impressed as they appeared on their television screens, with many branding him a ‘hypocrite’.
Criticism: David Beckham was criticised when he appeared in the US city of Boston to present an accolade during The Earthshot Prize ceremony on Sunday night having jetted in from Qatar
After the audience’s cheers calmed, he opened his speech: ‘Good evening, everyone. I was honoured to be asked by Prince William to be part of this year’s Earthshot Prize.
‘Now, I’m an optimist because humans are capable of great creativity when we collaborate.
‘We create beauty in art, music, film, and of course, sport. We create things that bring us comfort in this challenging world.
Jet set: The retired footballer, 47, has been in the Middle East for the World Cup but he flew to America to present a £1m award in the Build a Waste-Free World
‘But, we also create waste. We make over 300million tonnes of plastic per year. That’s the equivalent, in weight, to every adult on Earth.’
He praised the ‘incredible’ work of the finalists before announcing sustainable packaging start-up Notpla the winner in the Build a Waste-Free World category.
Noting that David is an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, one Twitter user said he should be ‘nowhere near’ Boston, which is more than 6,380 miles away from Qatar.
‘David Beckham should be nowhere near this, he is literally the ambassador for the World Cup with the biggest ever carbon footprint, absolute hypocrite,’ they wrote.
Questioning David’s travel, another person asked: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong but, for the Earth thingy thing, did Beckham fly all the way from Qatar to Boston to present a prize to a winner – who wasn’t allowed to attend because of the environmental impact – and will now fly back to Qatar to continue with his advocacy for Qataris?’
Praising Notpla for their win, another Twitter user wrote: ‘Well done guys and so well deserved. Shame David Beckham, ambassador to one of the most oppressive and climate wrecking countries on the planet, flew across the globe to announce it whilst you all stayed at home. He was probably back in Qatar 12 hours later.’
Opinion: While David was met with applause, viewers at home were less impressed as they appeared on their television screens, with many branding him a ‘hypocrite’
While someone else posted: ‘I’m only just clocking on to the fact that winners of the Earthshot Prize were asked to virtually attend the ceremony while royalty & celebrities all flew in to be there in person (don’t even get me started on David Beckham flying in from Qatar). Make it make sense! Like, what?!’
One other person wrote: ‘It was completely wasteful. David Beckham flew all the way from Qatar to just present an award that the winner wasn’t even there for. Hypocrites!’
David was in Qatar to attend several of England’s matches during the 2022 World Cup, after his controversial £10 million deal to be an ambassador for the Middle Eastern nation.
VIP: David met with Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales backstage after The Earthshot Prize 2022 at MGM Music Hall
David previously flew home from Qatar to attend his wife Victoria’s work Christmas party in London.
The sportsman has landed himself in hot water in recent months for refusing to step down from fulfilling his £10million Qatar World Cup deal amid anger over human rights and LGBTQ+ issues.
David has been criticised for his £10million Qatar World Cup deal.
The decision by FIFA to hold the World Cup in Qatar has been surrounded by controversy – particularly in relation to migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.
David has not spoken about the country’s oppressive laws despite warnings over human rights abuses and an abysmal record on LGBTQ+ issues.
The Earthshot Prize – and its accompanying TV broadcast – is intended to be one of the greenest televised events in history.
Good intentions: The Earthshot Prize – and its accompanying TV broadcast – is intended to be one of the greenest televised events in history