The spokesman with an unshakable commitment to portraying himself as perfect is finally made real
For years now, David Beckham has been so good at playing the role of a bland, inoffensive vessel optimized for the conveyance of corporate messaging that he managed to convince us that that’s all he is. An unflappable, two-dimensional living billboard wholly devoid of troublesome human traits like anger, jealousy, desire, or original thought.
But over the weekend, a trove of millions of leaked emails and documents exchange between Beckham and his management firm over a span of three years was published by several major newspapers across Europe, revealing David Beckham to be a living, breathing human being after all.
The primary revelation from these emails is that the entirety of Beckham’s prodigious public life—from charity work as UNICEF ambassador to promotional appearances to fawning birthday wishes for The Queen—has been part of a concerted effort to be knighted. Choice quotes include Beckham labelling the Honours Committee “unappreciative cunts” when he didn’t get his wish and eschewing other plaudits by saying “Unless it’s a knighthood fuck off.”
Other messages purportedly from Beckham include petty insults for other celebrities being honored and orders not to use his own personal funds for charity projects.
According to The Sun, the hackers who obtained the information tried to extort Beckham for £1million (why is it always an even million? If I ever extort someone I’m going to demand 1,267,922.17 just to be original) before releasing it to the press. And Beckham’s management is claiming that some of the emails were doctored.
From the Guardian:
Some of the published emails were doctored by hackers, it is understood, including the insertion of extra swearwords, Beckham’s team have said. But they confirmed others as genuine, including his insult about the honours committee. However, they stressed such emails were heat-of-the-moment communications between close associates.
The cache also included emails between Oliveira and Beckham about “a red flag” HM Revenue and Customs had put on his nomination for a knighthood due to his involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme and Beckham’s exasperation that he had done nothing wrong.
While the tabloids have branded this episode as Beckham’s “email shame,” for anyone who has ever yawned their way through a David Beckham interview or commercial appearance and wondered “is this guy for real?” it’s actually humanizing. Here we thought Beckham was just a totally unrelatable robotic do-gooder who weirdly derives pleasure from getting people to buy underwear and shaking hands with aristocrats, and behind closed doors he’s saying things like “Unless it’s a knighthood fuck off.” Which is a T-shirt I would definitely buy.
Suddenly, everything Beckham does makes so much more sense. He’s not some altruistic citizen of the world who has somehow transcended the quirks of humanity—he’s just a guy from east London who thinks it would be badass to be a knight. He throws tantrums and talks shit about people just like the rest of us. I’m sure he genuinely enjoys helping others with his charity work, but he wants something for himself out of it, too.
None of these things make him an evil person. They just make him a person. And though he has done an impressive job of hiding that reality over the years, it’s nice to finally see that ol’ Davey Becks hasn’t been wholly consumed by Brand Beckham after all.
Maybe now that the man behind the curtain has finally been revealed and his quest for a knighthood has sustained what must be a deathblow, he’ll let the real David Beckham come out to play in public a little more often. Call Pep Guardiola a punk or declare the city of Miami dead to him for not building the MLS stadium he wants. Maybe just carry a sword around everywhere he goes. If you can’t be a knight, you can at least act like one.