HBO is distancing itself from anti-gay comments made by boxer Manny Pacquiao as it prepares to show his April 9 fight against Timothy Bradley Jr.
"Next month Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. are scheduled to meet in a Pay-Per-View bout," HBO said in a statement. "We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event. 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."
Last month, Pacquiao was roundly condemned after he called gays "worse than animals" during a debate in his native Philippines on same-sex marriage. He later issued a non-apology apology before approvingly posting a Bible verse that said gays should be put to death.
HBO has been terrific is telling stories of LGBT people in sports, most recently its profile of Rick Welts, the openly gay president of the Golden State Warriors. HBO has contractual obligations to show the fight and it would be hard to see them pulling out because of what Pacquiao said without causing a lot of legal headaches. However, consumers can vote with their wallets by not purchasing the fight on pay-per-view. In this case, money talks.