Melbourne: Sports brand Nike has severed its eight-year-old tie with Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino boxer described gay couples as “worse than animals”.
Describing Pacquiao’s comments as ‘ abhorrent’, Nike said in a statement that they strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community, News.com.au reported.
However, the eight-time world boxing champion later issued an apology for his comments saying, “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. God Bless!”
Gay marriage is illegal in the Philippines due to strong resistance from the Catholic Church, with 80 per cent of the country’s total population subscribing to the faith.
Pacquiao said that animals are better than homosexuals because they could distinguish between male and female.
His comments sparked outrage on social media as various celebrities slammed the boxer for his insensitive remark.
Philippines’ most popular gay comedian Vice Ganda slammed Pacquiao on Twitter by posting #PrayForMannyPacquiao to his 6.7 million followers.
Vice said Pacquiao was not a God and that he had no right to judge people. He further insisted that the Senate does not require blind prophet like the 37-year-old.
Echoing similar views, popular singer Aiza Seguerra, who recently married her actress girlfriend, described Pacquiao as an ‘ignorant, bigoted hypocrite’ and called on the voters to boycott him.
Pacquiao, who will bid adieu to boxing after his last fight against Timothy Bradley in April, will fight for a senate seat in the May elections. (ANI)