HBO has condemned comments made last month by boxer Manny Pacquiao, but said it will still broadcast his upcoming fight.
Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao sparked criticism across the world last month, after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5.
HBO is set to broadcast a fight between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr on 9 April.
The broadcaster condemned the comments as “deplorable”, but said it will still broadcast the fight.
“We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event,” HBO said in a statement on Wednesday.
“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 has been a proud home to many LGBTQ stories and couldn’t approach this event without clearly voicing our opinion.”
Pacquiao went on to say that he was not bothered about the backlash – despite losing millions in sponsorship after being dropped by Nike, which described his views as “abhorrent”.
One of Pacquiao’s media handlers initially told reporters at that they were not allowed to ask him any questions about the controversy.
However, the sports star appeared eager to show he remained firm in his religious convictions.
And it seems the Filipino electorate are happy too – after it was revealed that the boxer is poised to win one of 12 vacant Senatorial seats in the country’s upcoming elections.
The boxer has recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician – attempting to appeal to the country’s strong Catholic population after years of womanising and hard partying.
Although same-sex sexual activity is not a crime in the Philippines, same-sex marriage is not recognised, and gay couples are unable to adopt.