The annual GQ Men Of The Year awards took place on Tuesday night, Sept. 2, at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, but one of the award recipients was quite a surprise.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was named Philanthropist of the Year, an award that many feel is undeserving, and a Twitter backlash has ensued.
Mr. Blair was honored for establishing his three charities: the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, his Faith Foundation and his Africa Governance Initiative. The tribute to Mr. Blair on GQ‘s website read, “In 2007 Tony Blair stepped down as prime minister, but his surging momentum’s shown no signs of slowing.
“Alongside his role as a Middle East peace envoy, Blair’s channelled his energy into philanthropy, establishing three charities.”
Blair accepted his award and told the crowd, “I would like to dedicate this award to the people that work with and for my organizations. I feel the pulse of progress beating a little harder.”
However, Twitter users have less pleasant things to say about Blair’s pulse of progress and it’s evident that many still think of him as the man who brought war to the Middle East in 2003.
Twitter comments ranged from mocking disbelief to pure anger.
Apparently, Tony Blair has won GQ's philanthropist of the year award. Finally these awards have grasped irony!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 2, 2014
Tony Blair just won philanthropist of the year at the #GQAwards No boos but a muted response it's fair to say!
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) September 2, 2014
The definition of Philanthropist following Tony Blair's award as 'Philanthropist of The Year' by GQ magazine. pic.twitter.com/fISDtDFrsY
— Garry Platt (@GarryPlatt) September 3, 2014
Nobody on Twitter is going to write a funnier joke than Tony Blair being named Philanthropist of the Year.
Well played, real life.
— Jason (@NickMotown) September 3, 2014
And it’s not just Twitter that is unhappy that Blair was this year’s Philanthropist of the Year recipient. According to the Daily Mail, an MP from his own party, John Mann, said, “It sends the wrong message. This sort of award should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity.”