- Publish Date
- Friday, 13 October 2023, 5:04PM
Sir Rod Stewart has turned down a lucrative offer to perform in Saudi Arabia because of the country's human rights issues and he hopes his decision will "shine a light on the injustices there and ignite positive change".
The 78-year-old rock legend was offered a significant sum to bring his show to the Middle East but declined due to the oppression of "women, the LGBTQ community [and] the press" in the kingdom.
He told the Daily Mirror newspaper, "I’m grateful that I have a choice whether or not 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.”
Rod had previously turned down £1 million to bring his live show to Qatar - which hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup - and although the Saudi offer was "much higher" he was never interested in trading his principles for cash.
A source told the publication, "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."
In Saudi Arabia engaging in same-sex relationships is illegal and can be punishable with the death penalty.
The 'Maggie May' singer had previously spoke about how he wanted to use his 2016 Knighthood from late British monarch Queen Elizabeth II to do good in the world and highlight charities he supports.
He said, "I usually keep all my charitable efforts nice and quiet and just do it. But I thought, ‘I am a knight, I have been given this knighthood because of the things I’ve achieved in my life and the charity work I’ve done over the years.’
“But that was the past. I want to be seen to be doing something now. I am a knight, I should be using my power to do something for people. I am sure that if there are people out there who see what I am doing, they will pick up some slack too.”
In 2022, Rod - who is married to Lady Penny Lancaster Stewart - rented a house in Berkshire for a family of seven Ukrainians who had fled the war with Russia and paid all their household bills.
He also gave two other refugees jobs at his Essex mansion, working as a gardener and a housekeeper.
- Written by Bang! Showbiz and republished here with permission
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