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GMB Criticised For John Fashanu Appearance On Qatar LGBTQ+ Panel

GMB Criticised For John Fashanu Appearance On Qatar LGBTQ+ Panel
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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The ITV breakfast show 'Good Morning Britain' has come under fire after inviting contentious ex-footballer John Fashanu as a guest on the show to discuss the plight of the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.

The persecution of the community in the Gulf state has been one of the most discussed topics during a controversial World Cup, with Roy Keane among those to speak out strongly against FIFA's decision to bring the World Cup to the country in the first place.

In Qatar, sex between men and other men, or between women and other women, is a criminal offence, while sex between two Muslim men is punishable with death by stoning - though there is little evidence of this law having been enforced.

The pushback against teams wearing the 'OneLove' armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community has only soured the atmosphere around this World Cup, and it was a topic of discussion on 'Good Morning Britain' (GMB) on Thursday.

Ex-footballer John Fashanu was part of the panel for the discussion on Qatar - but his appearance was criticised by viewers, given his previous relationship with his brother Justin Fashanu - the last top level footballer to publicly come out as gay in the UK.

John Fashanu makes controversial appearance on discussion of LGBTQ+ rights

John Fashanu was the brother of Justin Fashanu - to date, the most recent openly 'out' footballer in the UK.

In the aftermath of Justin's coming out, his brother John made a series of comments stating that his brother was an "outcast", and publicly shunning Justin.

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Justin Fashanu died by suicide in 1998 and, in the immediate years after his death, John expressed remorse for his response to the news of Justin's sexual identity. In 2012, however, he made contentious remarks to talkSPORT when he stated that his brother was not gay, but was in fact an "attention seeker."

The previous remarks by Justin Fashanu in relation to his own brother made him a contentious choice to appear on the 'Good Morning Britain' panel discussion on LGBTQ+ rights. Fashanu gave a contrary view to what many pundits have said in the leadup to the tournament, suggesting that visiting fans should simply adhere to the situation in Qatar.

Speaking on the subject of the 'OneLove' armbands being banned at the World Cup, Fashanu said:

'OneLove' armbands...what has that got to do with football? How did that merge into the world of football?

This is what we've been saying from the beginning - politics and football, we try and keep them away from each other. Because if politics goes  into football - which is what is happening - the politics go up and up and up and eventually they will win. I'm very disappointed.

We've said it time and time again - if they're going to award Qatar this wonderful opportunity for football, you would like to think that everybody would adhere to the rules and regulations of the country. It's simple.

I think that whatever the rules and regulations are of that country, whatever they may be - adhere to them. Some of them might be good, some of them might be bad. But respect the country and say 'okay, that's fine, I can't do this, I can't do that.'

The appearance of Fashanu was contentious enough, but his comments only led to more backlash against the decision to invite him on to the show to discuss such a sensitive topic. His description of LGBTQ+ activism as "political" was particularly disappointing.

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Journalists and football fans alike spoke out against GMB's decision to invite Fashanu onto the show, with his historical relationship with brother Justin cited as a key reason that he was not a suitable choice of guest.

The decision to platform John Fashanu despite his harmful past behaviour and comments is certainly a disappointing one, and has done nothing to aid any potential positive developments in the discussion of LGBTQ+ rights surrounding the World Cup.

SEE ALSO: Irishman Leading Welsh FA Slates 'Cheap' FIFA Over Armband Row

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