A damaging series of leaked emails dubbed ‘Beckileaks’ has highlighted David Beckham’s apparent anger at not receiving a knighthood.
The 41-year-old – one of football’s biggest names – received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003, but is yet to be knighted, something that is common among high-profile sporting stars from Great Britain.
In the Queen’s New Year Honours list for 2017, three sportsmen, including Andy Murray at the age of 29 – making him the youngest ever – were knighted, while two sportswomen were made dames, but there was no place for Beckham.
A series of leaked emails, reportedly from Beckham, have been published by numerous European press outlets in recent days, which were the subject of an alleged £1 million blackmail attempt.
Beckham’s team say the emails give a “deliberately inaccurate picture”.
“They [Honours Committee] r a bunch of c***s,” Beckham is said to have written after finding out he would not be knighted.
“I expected nothing less. Who decides on the honors [sic]??
“It’s a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would have got something like this 10 years ago.”
Beckham’s PR manager Simon Oliveira allegedly responded to his client with: “This give [sic] us even more reason to work this year on UNICEF… and other charitable commitments.”
Beckham has been a goodwill ambassador with UNICEF since 2005.
UNICEF is a common trend of the leaked emails, with Beckham reportedly writing that he was annoyed at being asked to match the highest bidder at a charity auction.
He is also said to have written: “This f****ng money is mine” in relation to a suggestion he could donate $US1million to a UNICEF dinner.
The denial – and UNICEF support
The emails were allegedly discovered by a hacker, who demanded money for not publishing the correspondence.
The BBC report that ‘European Investigative Collaborations’, a network of journalists, sat on the information for “several months” before “distributing it to several European websites last week”.
Beckham’s PR team told The Telegraph: “This story is based on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails from a third party server and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture.”
UNICEF released a statement that did not comment on the emails – but offered support to Beckham.
“David Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005, and as well as generously giving his time, energy and support to help raise awareness and funds for UNICEF’s work for children, David has given significant funds personally,” it read.
Beckham hits out at classical singer
In one of the reported emails, Beckham writes to Oliveira in anger after Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins was given an OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list.
“Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops, plus admitting to taking coke [cocaine] … f****ng joke and if you get asked we should think of a cutting remark,” he is said to have written.
The leak drew an angry response from Jonathan Shalit, the singer’s manager.
“Beckham says, ‘Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke’,” he told The Sun.
“I say Katherine was awarded an OBE for her services to music and charity.
“With regards to the taking of coke which Katherine has courageously publicly admitted with great honesty – this was when she was in her early 20s still studying, over a decade before she was awarded her OBE and started her recording career.”