Morgan Freeman makes surprise appearance at World Cup opening ceremony

by 24britishtvNov. 20, 2022, 5:01 p.m. 15
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Morgan Freeman made a surprise appearance at the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar, giving a speech about ‘unity’ and ‘respect’.

The iconic actor, 85, delighted some fans as he took to the stage, with others left questioning why he wanted to be involved in the event, due to Qatar’s human rights record.

‘I heard something beautiful. Not just music, but also this celebration. This is all so new. All that I had known before was a land that seemed to be in turmoil. I stand here in your midst,’ he said during his performance.

As Freeman was invited to ‘come on over,’ he answered: ‘I’m not sure. Am I welcome?’

The actor was then told: ‘We sent out the call because everyone is welcome. This is an invitation for the whole world.’

‘I remember even after hearing the call, instead of seeing another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way,’ he said. ‘And now the world feels even more distant and divided. How can so many countries, languages, and cultures come together if only one way is accepted?’

He added: ‘I can see it. What unites us here in this moment is so much greater than what divides us.’

Some fans were thrilled by Freeman’s performance, with one tweeting: ‘Morgan Freeman at the World Cup opening ceremony! This Worldcup is gonna be the best one ever.’

Another added: ‘Appreciation Tweet for Morgan Freeman and the way he spoke at the Opening Ceremony, there is power is his voice.’

However, others weren’t too impressed, with one saying: ‘When Jungkook sings about RESPECT and Morgan Freeman talks about RESPECT. IN QATAR.’

Another said: ‘@morganfreeman Well that was disappointing to see you there. I guess everyone has their price. Thought you were bigger than that.’

Freeman joined stars including BTS singer Jungkook and Robbie Williams in kicking off the World Cup. Gary Lineker also opened the coverage by referencing Qatar’s human rights record.

Williams reportedly defended his decision to perform in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Venerdì di Repubblica.

He is quoted as saying: ‘Of course, I don’t condone any abuses of human rights anywhere.

‘But, that being said, if we’re not condoning human rights abuses anywhere, then it would be the shortest tour the world has ever known: I wouldn’t even be able to perform in my own kitchen.’

The Angels hitmaker added: ‘Anybody leaving messages saying “no to Qatar” are doing so on Chinese technology. It would be hypocritical of me to not go [to Qatar] because of the places that I do go to.’

Qatar has laws banning same-sex sexual activity, with those found guilty given lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty.

More than 6,500 migrants have also died while building seven new stadiums for hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Women’s rights are also severely restricted in the country.

MORE : Gary Lineker opens BBC’s World Cup coverage with passionate criticism of Qatar and its human rights record

MORE : BTS star Jungkook teases Qatar World Cup opening ceremony performance with dreamy clip despite backlash

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