David Beckham has become renowned for his extensive charity work with UNICEF, but could the whole thing be a self-serving scam?
That’s the accusation being made in the British press after leaked emails allegedly sent by David Beckham paint a decidedly unflattering portrait of the British soccer great’s motivation for his work with UNICEF, with U.K. newspaper The Sun publishing the “bombshell” leaked emails that seem to indicate Beckham’s charity work was “part of a desperate campaign to win a knighthood.”
According to The Sun, the emails find Beckham going off on the honours committee that recommends candidates for knighthood, describing them as “unappreciative c****,” and refused to accept awards he didn’t feel were worth of his status. “Unless it’s a knighthood, f*** off,” allegedly reads one of his emails.
In addition, The Sun says that after he was passed over for a knighthood in 2013, he wrote a “furious email to his long-time PR man Simon Oliveira” to complain about British singer Katherine Jenkins being awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), writing: “Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke.” (Beckham is referring to Jenkins’ admission of experimenting with cocaine and other drugs when she was younger.)
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Beckham then ranted about the honours committee: “They’re a bunch of c****. I expected nothing less. Who decides on the honours?”
He added: “It’s a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would of [sic] got something like this 10 years ago.”
In response, Oliveira allegedly wrote an to Beckham’s agent and best friend David Gardner, telling him: “This gives us even more reason to work this year on Unicef, the armed forces, and other charitable commitments.” Oliveira also advised Beckham to “remain positive” in public and resist the temptation to publicly slam the committee for passing him over. “We need to remain dignified if asked, but if you want me to work up something cutting I will work up one, but my advice is it’s not productive,” wrote Oliveira.
However, a spokesperson for Beckham has released a statement claiming the alleged statements in the emails have been “taken out of context,” claiming the “private” emails were “hacked” and “doctored” after being taken from a third-party server.
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“This story is based on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails from a third party server and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture,” reads the statement.
“David Beckham and UNICEF have had a powerful partnership in support of children for over 15 years. The David Beckham 7 Fund specifically has raised millions of pounds and helped millions of vulnerable children around the world,” the statement continues.
“David Beckham has given significant time and energy and has made personal financial donations to the 7 Fund and this commitment will continue long term,” adds the statement. “Before establishing the 7 Fund, David had supported UNICEF and a number of other charities over many years, including donating his entire earnings from PSG during his time playing there.”
In conclusion, the spokesperson says: “David and UNICEF are rightly proud of what they have and will continue to achieve together and are happy to let the facts speak for themselves.”