Morgan Freeman has been called out for performing at the opening ceremony of the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
The 85-year-old actor kicked off the opening ceremony of the football competition on Sunday (20 November) by narrating the opening segment The Calling at Al-Bayt Stadium in Doha.
His surprise appearance in Doha comes 12 years after he fluffed his lines while attempting to help the USA’s bid to host the 2022 tournament.
On social media, fans called him a ‘Qatari sleeper agent’, reminiscing on his infamous speech in 2010, where he caused huge embarrassment for the USA’s bid team by messing up his speech and telling the crowd: ‘I’m sorry, I missed a page’.
Freeman narrated the opening segment of the 2022 World Cup opening ceremony, titled ‘The Calling’, telling viewers: ‘We all gather here in one big tribe’.
On social media, the reaction was less than favorable for the Oscar-winning actor, 85, with one insisting it was a ‘slap in the face’ to see the American in the stadium.
Another added ‘money talks’, while one said: ‘Sportswashing runs deep.’
David Beckham has also received a huge amount of criticism for his role in the Qatar World Cup build-up, and he too was pictured inside the stadium watching the events unfold.
Empty seats could be seen within the Al Bayt Stadium during the ceremony, which featured scenes including ‘Leta’Arafo (To Know One Another)’, followed by ‘Chants of Nations’, a World Cup Medley, a showcase of the official mascots and Jung Kook of South Korean boy band BTS.
Freeman’s appearance was perhaps the most surprising of all, though, given his previous ambitions to help the USA win 2022 World Cup hosting rights.
In 2010, he travelled to Zurich as part of the US bid team, alongside the likes of former President Bill Clinton, presenting a speech to try and win votes for his country – before his slip-up left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Writing on Twitter, Men In Blazers presenter Roger Bennett said Freeman’s appearance in Qatar was ‘epic trolling on a global scale’.
It is as yet unknown how much money Freeman was paid to play his role in the opening ceremony.