Rod Stewart snubs major Saudi Arabia payday gig as 78-year-old vows to 'shine light on injustices'

Rod Stewart snubs major Saudi Arabia payday gig as 78-year-old vows to 'shine light on injustices'

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 12/10/2023

- 11:19

The iconic rocker has spoken out on his decision to turn down a big-money offer to perform in Saudi Arabia

Sir Rod Stewart has admitted he is "grateful" to be able to choose whether or not he is able to perform in Saudi Arabia or not.

The singer's statement comes after Stewart was reportedly offered a gargantuan sum of money to perform in the Middle-Eastern country.

Stewart cited Saudi Arabia's human rights record as the main reason for snubbing the offer, referring specifically to the treatment of "women, the LGBTQ community, the press".

In the Middle-Eastern country, same-sex sexual activity is illegal and can be punishable by death while Human Rights Watch has said there are “consistent reports of discrimination and violence” against LGBTQ+ people.

Stewart shared his statement to Instagram with the words written on a black background and the comments switched off on the post.

The statement began: "I’m grateful that I have a choice whether or not to perform in Saudi Arabia.

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart has spoken out on the decision to turn down an offer to perform in Saudi Arabia


"So many citizens there have extremely limited choices - women, the LGBTQ community, the press.

"I’d like my choice not to go… to shine a light on the injustices there and ignite positive change."

Stewart made the admission in a conversation with the Mirror, who also heard from a source close to the singer that his "moral compass" prevented him from taking up the offer.

The source said: "Rod was determined to do the right thing and couldn’t accept the offer, no matter how much money was on the table.

"Some things are more important," the source concluded to the publication.

Stewart has a track record of refusing to perform in countries whose human right records and values don't align with his own.

Speaking when the football World Cup headed to Qatar last year, he told the Sunday Times: "I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1million, to play there 15 months ago.

"I turned it down. It's not right to go," he added before he referred to Russia's exclusion from the tournament by saying: "The Iranians should be out too for supplying arms."

It isn't known just how much Stewart was offered to perform in Saudi Arabia but it is believed to be significantly more than the Qatar offer.

Stewart's decision comes amid a wave of famous faces who've been met with furore for their decision to perform there.

Bruno Mars and Iggy Azalea are just two singers who've performed in Saudi Arabia recently while England footballer Jordan Henderson was met with criticism for joining the football team Al-Ettifaq.

Following Stewart's statement, a number of fans took to social media to praise the decision, with one penning on X, formerly known as Twitter: "Rod Stewart showing Jordan Henderson how it’s done."

While a second echoed: "@rodstewart @saudiarabia principles, humanity, integrity before money."

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