Facebook Twitter

Morgan Freeman faces criticism for opening the World Cup

While other celebrities chose not to participate, Morgan Freeman helped open the World Cup and received backlash

SHARE Morgan Freeman faces criticism for opening the World Cup
Actor Morgan Freeman speaks during the opening ceremony for the World Cup.

Actor Morgan Freeman speaks during the opening ceremony for the World Cup, prior to the group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Manu Fernandez, Associated Press

Some people are angry at Morgan Freeman for participating in the FIFA World Cup opening ceremonies amid human rights controversies in Qatar.

Fans of the actor have taken to social media to express their disdain after Freeman participated in the opening ceremony on Sunday.

What did Morgan Freeman say in his statement?

“We gather here as one big tribe and Earth is the tent we all live in,” Freeman said in his opening statement.

The Associated Press reported that in a show of inclusion, Freeman extended his hand to an ambassador of the FIFA World Cup, who is currently suffering from a rare spinal disorder.

Some people were upset by this show of solidarity to a country facing major backlash because of its human rights record.

Forbes reported that Qatari authorities were criticized in 2021 for their “male guardianship system,” where women are not allowed to make many major decisions in their lives, such as what they can study, who they can marry, reproductive health and more.

Part of the controversy is also Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums for the World Cup.

The Guardian reported that about 6,500 migrant workers from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have died in Qatar since the country was given the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.

Despite the controversial choice in location, Freeman took the opportunity to try to unite the different countries participating in the competition.

“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 land has a story of its very own,” Freeman said.

Why are people angry at Morgan Freeman?

Far Out reported that not only did fans have conflicting emotions about the World Cup’s location in Qatar this year but also with Freeman’s involvement as an outspoken human rights advocate.

In his human rights work, Freeman has established the Tallahatchie River Foundation, which seeks to bring better education to underserved youth, and formed the Grenada Relief Fund to help people affected by Hurricane Ivan.

One Twitter user wrote, “For a man who played Nelson Mandela — who knew better than anyone the impact and importance of isolation on a country and its success on the ground to change that nation’s policy — it is so disappointing to see #MorganFreeman take the money and support an oppressive regime.”

Other celebrities turned down the World Cup

Style Caster reported that both Dua Lipa and Shakira are not performing at this year’s World Cup.

Dua Lipa took to her Instagram story to share why she would not be performing, saying, “I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform. I will be cheering England on 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 the World Cup.”

The Sunday Times reported that Rod Stewart was offered over $1 million to play in Qatar over a year ago and he said, “I turned it down. It’s not right to go.”