Ex-soccer star David Beckham is the latest celebrity victim of email hacking but has refused to pay 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) in a blackmail attempt. A hacker reportedly obtained unflattering emails sent by Beckham and attempted to blackmail him in order to stem the leak but Beckham didn’t relent.
The hacker, using the pseudonym Artem Lovuzov, told Beckham and his team that the “leak is a lot bigger than you imagine” and “a generous donation” was all that was needed to make the issue go away.
The threats were first made last year, according to his publicity team, but are only coming to light now after the emails were published by Football Leaks. Beckham had initially claimed that emails were fake but he has since admitted that they are legitimate.
The exact details of the alleged hack are still sketchy but it is believed that Lovuzov breached accounts at the footballer’s publicist. It revealed comments made by Beckham that included anger over a suggested 1 million pound donation to the UN and annoyance over not receiving a knighthood in his native U.K.
He reportedly wrote: “They r a bunch of c***s [sic]. I expected nothing less. Who decides on the honors?? It’s a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would have got something like this 10 years ago.”
Beckham hasn’t received much sympathy over the leaked emails, with The Guardian saying the leaks “exposed merely vanity and greed” and that the former Manchester United player’s charity work was just PR-driven in order to gain a knighthood in England, an honor that he was snubbed for in 2013. Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005.
A spokesperson for Beckham said the content of the emails was “outdated material taken out of context.” UNICEF has come out in defense of him as well.