Morgan Freeman has been heavily criticized for helping officially kick off the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The Oscar-winning actor, who helped pitch America’s own bid for the 2022 World Cup in 2010, narrated the opening segment “The Calling” at Al-Bayt Stadium in Doha.
He told the crowd, “We gather here as one great tribe and the Earth is the tent in which we all live. Football spans the globe, uniting nations in their love of the beautiful game. What unites nations also unites communities. We all have a story about football and how it brought us together and this land has its own story.
Freeman also spoke with Qatari influencer Ghanim al Muftah, a 20-year-old FIFA World Cup ambassador who was born with caudal regression syndrome which impairs 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 and significance of isolation on a country and its success on the ground to change the politics of this nation – it’s so disappointing to see #MorganFreeman take the money and support an oppressive regime.
Another called it “sold”, while one user used a simpsonss meme with a character carrying suitcases of money to the United States.
One user also said, “I hope the Qatari blood money was worth your selling for Shameful.”
For a man who played Nelson Mandela – who knew better than anyone the impact and importance of isolation on a country and his success on the ground in changing that nation’s politics – it is so disappointing to see #Morgan FREEMAN take the money and support an oppressive regime😥 #Eviscerated
— Gary Webster (@RealGaryWebster) November 20, 2022
— D. (@Dommi1812) November 20, 2022
Morgan Freeman back in the United States pic.twitter.com/jsZyfkQeni
— Oscar (@MensahOscar) November 20, 2022
I hope the Qatari blood money was worth selling
— David Fents (@DavidFents) November 20, 2022
@Morgan FREEMAN No more after today. Well, we all know what price you’re selling at.
— Exiled in London (@ExiledPaddy62) November 20, 2022
#Fifa World Cup @Morgan FREEMAN very disappointed, some people will do anything for money. Won’t look #shawshankredemption Again.
—Nick Allen (@Nickblackrat) November 20, 2022
@Morgan FREEMAN should be ashamed. 🤬🤬🤬 How much do they pay you? 🤔 How much does your integrity cost? 🤔
Never raise your voice to talk about minorities. You have just lost this privilege. 🤮🤮🤮@FIFAcom is a bloody affair. And #Qatar2022 it’s the world cup AGAINST #Human rights.
— David Ballesteros (DBG3D@mas.to 🐘) (@Dbg3D) November 20, 2022
Others praised the actor with one writing, “I just read the full narration that Morgan Freeman gave at the opening and I have to say it’s gripping, the world needs to listen!”
Another added: “Morgan Freeman’s sketch at the World Cup opening ceremony has a rare sense of DEPTH. Beyond his blessing in a loud voice, there is TRUTH in his message. “What unites us here right now is so much greater than what divides us.” If only we would respect that!!!”
Morgan Freeman’s sketch at the World Cup opening ceremony has a rare sense of depth. Beyond his blessing in a loud voice, there is TRUTH in his message. “What unites us here right now is so much greater than what divides us.” If only we would respect that!!! #Fifa World Cup
— 🇰🇪 David Osiany, HSC (@DavidOsiany) November 20, 2022
I just read the full narration that Morgan Freeman gave at the opening and I have to say it’s Captivating, the world needs to listen!
— TheKnusthimself (@TheKNUSThimself) November 20, 2022
Morgan Freeman’s voice is heavenly.
— 🇦🇷 Touré 🇦🇷 (@Toure_LaneZ) November 20, 2022
It comes as Qatar and World Cup organizers face continued criticism over the deaths of migrant workers in stadium construction and the country’s views on homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.
Earlier today (20 November), Joe Lycett threw £10,000 into tree chipper, protesting David Beckham involvement.
The comedian slammed Beckham’s role as tournament ambassadorwhich would have earned him £10million.
Robbie Williams has meanwhile defended his decision to perform at the Qatar 2022 World Cup yet. “I do not condone any human rights violation anywhere,” Williams said. “But that being said, if we’re not condoning human rights abuses anywhere, then this would be the shortest tour the world has ever seen: I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen.”
Meanwhile, BTS‘ Jungkook also performed the official World Cup anthem “Dreamers” with Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi during the opening ceremony.