John Fashanu slammed for ‘respect Qatar’ comments: ‘Gay people don’t need lessons from you’

Dancing on Ice star John Fashanu (left) and his late brother Justin Fashanu

Former footballer John Fashanu, who paid his late brother Justin £75,000 to not come out as gay, has said people should “respect” Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs.

“Whatever the rules and regulations are of that country, adhere to them,” John told Good Morning Britain on Thursday, 24 November.

“Some of them might be good, some of them might be bad, but respect the country and say OK that’s fine, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, that’s fine,” he said.

The interview has left viewers lost for words as it follows John admitting he was wrong for not supporting his brother, Justin, who made history by becoming the first professional footballer to come out as gay in 1990.

Sadly, Justin, tragically died by suicide at just 37 in 1998 after being hounded by homophobic British tabloid press.

Justin Fashanu

Justin Fashanu of Norwich City, playing for Norwich City in 1981. (Getty/ Allsport UK)

John Fashanu also used his platform to argue against the use of the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armbands at the World Cup, and said: “What has that got to do with football, how did that merge into the world of football.

“This is what we were saying from the beginning… politics and football… we try to keep them away from each other, because if politics go into football this is what’s happening, the politics go up and up and eventually they will win.

“So I’m just very disappointed.”

Fashanu said the participating nations shouldn’t have even “threatened” to wear the inclusive armbands in the first place. 

“I just don’t think it’s got anything to do with football. 

“If they’re going to award Qatar the opportunity, to have this wonderful opportunity for football, of course, you would like to think that everybody would adhere to the rules and regulations of the country. Simple.” 

He then branded protests against Qatar’s anti-gay laws as “inappropriate”, despite knowing how his brother suffered after coming out as gay. 

Justin Fashanu became the UK's first openly gay footballer

No-one playing in the Premier League has come out since Justin Fashanu (Getty Images)

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and being found guilty of same-sex relations can result in a lengthy prison sentence, while under Sharia law it is possible for men to face the death penalty if they are found to have engaged in same-sex intimacy.

A reporter at The Athletic responded to the interview, and said: “Absolutely zero idea why the bloke who tried to pay his own brother £75k to not come out and did an interview with the headline ‘My Gay Brother is an Outcast’ is being invited on telly to represent LGBT people.”

The comment references an interview John gave a week after Justin came out titled “my gay brother is an outcast”. 

Another Twitter user wrote: “John Fashanu doesn’t get flogged enough for me for how he did Justin. Let me even write a few more sentences dragging him in my book.” 

“Gay people really don’t need lessons from John Fashanu on anything. F**k you,” another user pointed out. 

“John Fashanu represents the most grotesque and disgusting of humanity.

“He never learnt anything, such a disgrace. As a British Nigerian I am ashamed. Justin’s coming out as gay and death impacted me. This is why many Nigerians feel at liberty to talk BS about human sexuality,” another user wrote. 

In a previous interview with GB News, Fashanu admitted he was an “idiot” for struggling to accept his brother’s sexuality. He said his daughter Amal Fashanu helped him to understand his brother better. 

Following Justin’s death, Amal Fashanu created the Justin Fashanu Foundation, aiming to combat homophobia in football.

It follows England and Wales choosing not to wear the OneLove armband due to the threat of being issued a yellow card. 

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk).

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

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