Maluma, the singer of the 2022 Qatar World Cup anthem, stormed out of an interview after being accused of “whitewashing” regarding the host country’s human rights record.
The 2022 World Cup began last night (November 20) and will run until December 18 in and around the capital city of Doha, and is being held amid 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 this week, Maluma shared the tournament’s official anthem, ‘Tukoh Taka’, a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and Myriam Fares. In a new interview with Israel’s KAN News, he was pressed on the moral quandaries around being involved in the World Cup, and pointed to the likes of Dua Lipa, who recently denied rumours that she was to be involved, calling on Qatar to fulfil the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the tournament.
“Yeah but it’s something I can’t resolve,” Maluma responded. “I just came here to enjoy life, enjoy soccer and the party of soccer.
“It’s not something that I actually have to be involved with. I’m here enjoying my music and the beautiful life, playing soccer too,” he added.
Asked if he was playing a part in “whitewashing” Qatar’s human rights record through his participation, Maluma then looked off screen to a director and asked: “Do I have to answer that question?”
He went on to call the interviewer “rude” and left the interview, which you can see below.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) November 18, 2022
Many other artists have spoken about the tournament in the run-up, with Rod Stewart saying he turned down almost £1million to perform at the World Cup, saying “it’s not right”, while Robbie Williams responded to criticism for being booked to perform at the Qatar World Cup.
In an exclusive interview with il Venerdi, the singer defended his choice to perform at Doha Golf Club on December 8. “Anybody leaving messages saying ‘no to Qatar’ are doing so on Chinese technology,” he told the Italian magazine, referencing China’s similarly poor record on human rights.
He continued: “You get this microscope that goes ‘okay, these are the baddies, and we need to rally against them’… 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”.
The former Take That member argued it would be “hypocritical” for him not to go to Qatar, “because of the places that I do go to”.
Joe Lycett also made headlines this week by throwing £10,000 into a tree shredder, in protest of David Beckham’s involvement in the World Cup. Last week, Lycett criticised Beckham’s role as a tournament ambassador, which has reportedly netted him £10million.
In a video message, the comedian offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to queer charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started. If not, he promised he would shred the cash on the opening day of the tournament.
Elsewhere, England manager Gareth Southgate has said that his players will speak out about human rights abuses in the host nation during the tournament.