One of the most significant sporting events in the world, the FIFA World Cup, began in Qatar yesterday. Many soccer fans are on the fence about watching this year’s World Cup because of news of human rights abuses in Qatar. That’s why some people are upset that Morgan Freeman, a Hollywood legend, participated in the opening ceremony.
Fans were dismayed by Freeman’s apparent support for the World Cup because of his history of activism on human rights. The actor narrated the opening segment Friday night in Doha, Qatar, praising the game’s uplifting effects.
Freeman declared, “We gather here as one big tribe, and Earth is the tent we all live in. Football spans the world and 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.”
Despite what Freeman claimed in his address, the World Cup preparations in Qatar have led to the deaths of migrant workers subjected to systematic abuse and exploitation. Social media users were understandably displeased by Freeman’s participation in the opening ceremony.
“For a man who played Nelson Mandela – who knew better than anyone the impact & importance of isolation on a country & its success on the ground to change that nation’s policy – it is so disappointing to see #MorganFreeman take the money & support an oppressive regime.” one Twitter user said.