Morgan Freeman and BTS’s Jung Kook Help Kick Off Controversial World Cup in Qatar

Sunday marks the first matchday of the 22nd FIFA World Cup. (Even if you’re not a football fan, you’re probably familiar with the FIFA organization, the over-the-top organization immortalized in the cinematic masterpiece United passions.) The time zone independent event often results in boosters of a specific national team going to bars at 6am to cheer along and turning whole neighborhoods into airport lounges boozing.

This time, the host country of the four-yearly competition is Qatar, a selection that is not without its controversy. There have been allegations of bribery and mistreatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums, resulting in 6,500 deaths. There is also Qatar’s record of LGBT rights. (Homosexuality is illegal there and can carry a three-year prison sentence if caught.)

So booking celebs for the opening ceremony proved a bit difficult. Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart are known to have passed. (Stewart said he turned down a $1 million offer but said, “It’s not the right thing to go.”) But Jung Kook from BTS and Morgan Freeman selected to perform at the newly opened Al Bayt Stadium. Robbie Williams also plans to perform during the competition, defending his decision by saying, “Anyone leaving messages saying ‘No to Qatar’ is doing so using Chinese technology.” Many other artists are rumored to be performing, but so far the organizers try to keep up surprises.

At the launch event, 85-year-old Oscar winner Freeman showed up to a sold-out crowd of 60,000 to badly lip-synch some purple prose and wondered if he was welcome in this mysterious realm. Ghanim al-Muftah, a Qatari YouTuber with caudal regression syndrome, was there to convince him of the goodness of FIFA and Qatar. After some rather stilted dialogue, the two men held out their hands but didn’t touch them. In the background were camels. The whole thing had a hint of it David Lynch to.

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After some flag-raising and marching spectacle (and a performance by La’eeb, the event’s Caspar the Friendly Ghost-esque mascot-esque mascot), international pop sensation Jung Kook took the stage to perform his new hit “Dreamers,” an official anthem of , to list the 2022 World Cup.

“Look who we are/we are the dreamers/we make it happen/because we believe in it,” he sang.

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After a few words from Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who has three wives, started the first game. At press time, Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/11/morgan-freeman-and-btss-jung-kook-help-kick-off-controversial-world-cup-in-qatar Morgan Freeman and BTS’s Jung Kook Help Kick Off Controversial World Cup in Qatar

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