Pro-LGBT celebrities from the world of sports have come for professional boxer Manny Pacquiao over his antigay statements.
Earvin Magic Johnson reportedly told his followers on Twitter that he was done watching the Filipino fighter, applauded Nike for dropping him over remarks that compared LGBT people to animals, and reminded Pacquiao money is green no matter what someone’s orientation is.
Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista, a fellow Filipino whose previous claim to fame was as a professional wrestler, didn’t hold back when TMZ asked him his thoughts about Pacquiao.
“My mom happens to be a lesbian so I don’t fucking take that shit. I don’t think it’s funny,” Bautista told TMZ in the video. And then he hit him again: “If anyone called my mother an animal, I’d stick my foot in his ass.” The WWE heavyweight wrote about his love for his mom in his autobiography in 2007.
Last week, Pacquiao described animals as superior to gays “because they can distinguish male from female,” in a television interview. He later told the BBC he made a mistake, but that comment sparked a global flurry of criticism that led the boxer to post a video apology on Facebook. He said he was sorry and was “not condemning LGBT,” but he also reconfirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage.
His sponsor, Nike, dropped him in the wake of his comments, stating, “We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent.”
Within hours, however, Pacquiao doubled-down and posted biblical verses on his Instagram account denouncing homosexuality as punishable by death.
On Saturday, reporters in his hometown in the Philippines asked Pacquiao if the criticism from Collins, Johnson, Bautista and others worried him. “I’m not bothered, that’s the world,” he said. “I mean, Jesus lives in me so I’m always happy. Says the Bible, everyday has enough troubles of its own, so don’t be bothered about that.”
Despite this controversy, it is expected that voters in the mainly Catholic Philippines, may still elect Pacquiao for one of 12 vacant Senatorial seats there. A senior member of the Catholic Church in the Philippines defended the boxer.
Saying it was “unfair” to condemn the boxer for quoting the bible, Father Jerome Secillano, the executive secretary of the Catholic bishops’ public affairs office, said: “This is really in the Bible. There is this quote he [Pacquiao] uses from the Bible and we cannot change that.”
But the priest did say that Pacquiao should have chosen his words better. “The church… says that if this is your lifestyle, if this is your orientation, then we respect that, we cannot condemn them,” the priest said.