Longtime homophobe Manny Pacquiao finally paid the piper after his latest round of antigay comments — including calling same-sex couples worse than animals and posting on social media that gays deserve death. Nike ended its endorsement deal with the athlete, while the Filipino senatorial candidate's approval numbers dipped since he made the statements last month.
Pacquiao, a current member of the Philippines' House of Representatives, attempted some damage control this week, reports Gay Star News, hosting an all-expenses-paid trip for LGBT activists to the City of General Santos. Ostensibly, the boxer hoped to mend fences with prominent LGBT advocates, and some did attend — including transgender leaders and a member of a Pride organization in Quezon City.
Others, with sharp words for Pacquiao, declined.
"It is politically naive to think that the meeting was based on goodwill," LGBT equality advocate Jonas Bagas told Gay Star News. "A meeting after the election made more sense. But in the middle of the campaign period, where imagery and messaging matter, you don’t go out of your way to accommodate a politician who has the gall to compare LGBTs to animals, who oppose reproductive health and equal rights, and who has demonstrated a record level low in legislative incompetence, just for a promise that he’ll file a bill that he is ideologically incompatible with."
Meanwhile, HBO — which condemned the boxer's statements — will still air his pay-per-view fight April 9.