British pop star Robbie Williams kicked off the World Cup on Thursday by flipping the bird at television cameras during his opening ceremony performance.
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Williams, 44, was performing his song “Rock DJ” at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow when he made the vulgar gesture, which was broadcasted and witnessed by millions watching the event.
The singer said he was informed not to perform his song “Party Like A Russian,” which pro-Russian government media outlets claimed made fun of Russian oligarchs, ESPN reported.
Meanwhile, critics in the United Kingdom slammed Williams’ decision to even perform at the ceremony in Russia.
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Williams stuck to hit songs “Let Me Entertain You” and “Rock DJ” during the ceremony.
Social media users were quick to point out the offensive gesture.
“Robbie Williams giving the finger to billions of people,” one person tweeted.
“Robbie Williams doing Robbie Williams things haha perfect start to the World Cup,” another person tweeted.
“So this is who FIFA chose to open the games? Very professional,” another social media user wrote.
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The World Cup games kicked off Thursday and are slated to end on July 15. In all, 64 matches will be played in 11 different cities throughout Russia. This is the first time the World Cup is being held in Eastern Europe.
Host Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament.
Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and the Associated Press contributed to this report.