HBO released a statement on Wednesday belatedly condemning anti-gay comments from boxing cash cow Manny Pacquiao.
But the pay-cable network refuses to dump Pacman as sneaker behemoth Nike did because of his unfavorable comparison of homosexuals to animals. HBO broadcasts Pacquiao’s rubber match against Timothy Bradley on April 9.
“We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event,” the pay network explained in a release. “However, we felt it important to leave no uncertainty about our position on Mr. Pacquiao’s recent comments toward the LGBTQ community. We consider them insensitive, offensive and deplorable.”
HBO does not find Pacquiao generating more than 18 million home buys and over $1 billion in pay-per-view subscriptions since teaming up with the network more than a decade ago “insensitive,” “offensive,” or “deplorable.” Whereas Floyd Mayeather defected from the network to competitor Showtime, and former HBO mainstay Adrien Broner now appears on Premier Boxing Champions on free TV, Manny Pacquiao remained loyal. But HBO says it broadcasts Pacquiao next month only because a contract binds them.
“HBO has been a proud home to many LGBTQ stories,” the network declared, “and couldn’t approach this event without clearly voicing our opinion.”
And the eight-division titlist couldn’t approach this event without clearly voicing his opinion, either. “It’s just common sense. Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?” the Filipino boxer asked on a network in his homeland last month. He maintained that “if you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals.”
And critics of Pacquiao’s profession regard it as animalistic, too. The 57-6-2 fighter promises that his man-on-man action this April in Las Vegas, controversial elsewhere but far from a sin in Sin City, will be the last of his career.