The Weekend Update co-anchor referenced the “unpaid workers who built the stadiums” during a joke about Morocco’s upset victory over Portugal.
After taking shots at corporate money-loving Kyrsten Sinema for leaving the Democratic Party and absentee father Herschel Walker for taking a big ol’ L in Georgia’s Senate run, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update dropped a joke that earned loud groans and boos from the audience.
The joke concerned the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar—specifically, Morocco’s upset victory over heavily-favored Portugal in the quarterfinals. Morocco made history as the only African nation to advance to the semifinal stage in the World Cup, and probably prevented Cristiano Ronaldo from ever hoisting that tiny gold trophy.
“As you guys saw today, Morocco beat Portugal in the quarterfinals of the World Cup,” offered co-anchor Colin Jost. “It is, uh, the best World Cup performance by a team of Africans since the unpaid workers who built the stadiums.”
Following a chorus of groans and boos at the dig, Jost exclaimed, “I didn’t do it!”
Jost’s attempt at comedy didn’t go over well with the crowd given how, as The Guardian reported last year, 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar in the decade since the country was announced as World Cup host. Many of them were working on World Cup-related projects, and were mostly South Asian immigrants from India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
While Qatar initially tried to claim that only 40 migrant workers had died from working on World Cup-related projects in the country, Qatari official Hassan al-Thawadi recently admitted that between 400-500 migrant workers had died in the lead-up to the World Cup.