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PR stunt or more? Robbie Williams' middle finger at FIFA World Cup opening puzzles Twitter community

By ethan / June 15, 2018

Pop legend Robbie Williams unleashed a true avalanche of comments on Twitter after sticking up his middle finger while performing a song at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Russia. Twitter users were left puzzled as to why.

Thousands of fans in the Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium sang in unison on Thursday with one of the UK’s most popular artists. Williams, 44, performed some of his greatest hits in a performance streamed online with millions watching.

While performing his famous “Rock DJ” song at the packed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the singer approached a camera in a nonchalant manner and popped up his middle finger before waltzing off. The ex-Take That star also changed the song’s lyrics. Instead of singing: ‘Pimpin’ ain’t easy, most of them fleece me, every night’, he sang: “Pimpin’ ain’t easy, most of them fleece me, but I did this for free.” 

READ MORE: Robbie Williams is ‘selling his soul’ to Putin, say usual UK suspects

The star’s move has arguably garnered him more fame, but also quite a mixed reaction from the online community. The Twitterati did come up with various ideas on why Williams – branded earlier by Russia-bashers as someone who ‘sold his soul’ to Vladimir Putin – did what he did.

Some claimed that the pop singer merely launched a PR stunt. According to Google search, interest in the singer jumped massively on June 14.

Others accused the veteran pop star of contempt of the tournament and viewers. “A proper disrespect to all the fans, players and families watching from all over the world. We wait every four years for this moment to begin and you’re putting your finger up like an amateur,” one person wrote on Instagram. 

The comments grew bitter and bitter…

Others came up with ideas, implying that the whole stunt was aimed at UK “corrupt elite” and “fake news media.”

While trying to predict what could be next for Robbie Williams, people on Twitter rolled out theories ranging from him being banned from headlining opening ceremonies to… deportation to cold-ridden Siberia.

Some, however, did not let the stunt spoil their mood and lower their sympathy for the star.

In the meantime, the choreographer of the opening ceremony Ilya Averbukh told Russian media that he had no idea why the pop legend showed his middle finger. He alleged that it could be a response to criticism from the British media and politicians who slammed Williams’ decision to perform in Moscow. 

READ MORE: Party like a Russian: Robbie Williams & Ronaldo to star in World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow

Earlier football-mad Williams described the chance to sing at the World Cup opening ceremony as “a boyhood dream,” and invited “football and music fans to party with us in Russia… for an unforgettable show.”

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