Manny Pacquiao’s comments comparing gay people to animals might have hurt his political aspirations despite early predictions that it wouldn’t.
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.
Despite the controversy, it was previously reported that voters in the mainly Catholic Philippines, may still vote for Pacquiao for one of 12 vacant Senatorial seats there.
Although he still places 11-14th out of polls for the 12 seats, a new opinion poll suggests the comments may have hurt him after all.
“There was a big drop in his numbers in the latest survey… It appears that his comments on the same-sex marriage issue had hurt his numbers, because it was widely reported in the media,” said Ronald Holmes of Pulse Asia.
The outlet conducted the poll of 1,800 people which found that Pacquiao’s approval rating fell from 46.9 percent in January to 34.8 percent this month.
Pacquiao has since gone 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”.
HBO, which is set to broadcast a fight between the boxer and Timothy Bradley later this year, described the comments as “insensitive, offensive and deplorable”.
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.