Dua Lipa Says She Will Absolutely Not Be Performing at the World Cup
“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 singer wrote on Instagram.Celebrities
Yesterday, music superstar Dua Lipa confirmed that she won’t pick up the phone for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is set to start this Sunday, November 20, in Doha, Qatar. Following rumors that the “Levitating” singer would be onstage at the sporting event’s opening ceremony, Lipa set the record straight: “I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiations to perform,” she wrote in an Instagram story. “I will be cheering England on from afar.”
While Lipa explained that a performance was never in the works, she made sure to clarify where her issues lie: “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.”
Qatar has long been criticized for its anti-LGBTQ+ laws, which criminalize male homosexuality and same-sex marriage and partnerships. Just last week, Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman received intense global backlash after he called homosexuality “damage in the mind” and “haram” (“forbidden” in Arabic) in an interview with ZDF, a German news channel. Salman later went on Twitter to say that his words were “misrepresented,” but doubled down on his homophobic sentiments: “Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but our religion and culture will not change for the championship.”
Lipa has been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community, waving pride flags during her concert and ensuring the safety of her queer fans at her shows, especially in countries that are less tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community. She even campaigned against Jair Bolsonaro, who is openly homophobic, when he was running for president of Brazil in 2018.
“I feel like it’s important to the people who follow you and support you to know exactly what they’re doing and know the importance of voting and know the importance of taking their future into their own hands,” she said while guesting on Billboard’s Pop Shop Podcast in 2018.
“And these are just things that I strongly believe in and I’ve been given this platform so I’m going to use it for that.” Lipa has also campaigned for Bernie Sanders, expressed her support for Palestine, and was recently named an honorary ambassador of Kosovo, her parents’ home country.
In addition to its blatant homophobia, Qatar is notorious for its poor treatment of migrant workers, some of which have been related to preparing for the World Cup. According to the Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since 2010, when the country won the right to host this year’s World Cup. Experts have attributed at least a sizable portion of those deaths to those working on an “unprecedented building programme”—including the construction of seven new stadiums—that has been underway over the last decade.
Amid these controversies, Lipa isn’t the only one distancing herself from the global sporting event—fans from all over the world are considering boycotting the World Cup entirely to express their disapproval of Qatar’s practices and beliefs.
When it comes to choosing host countries, it might be time for FIFA to consider some “New Rules.”