Manny Pacquiao’s Anti-LGBTQ Comments Didn’t Cost Him His Boxing and Political Careers

Filipino boxing champion and politician Manny Pacquiao has managed to build an impressive level of success in both his chosen fields. However, in 2016, he made a statement about the LGBTQ community that outraged many people and could have threatened his future in the public eye. Somehow, he managed to find his way out of that scandal without missing a step. 

Who is Manny Pacquiao?

Philippines Presidential Candidate and boxer Manny Pacquiao on a campaign motorcade in Manila
Philippines Presidential Candidate and boxer Manny Pacquiao | Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao was born in the Bukidnon province of Mindanao, Philippines, in 1978. He started boxing very young, and according to Biography, he left home when he was only a teen to pursue a career as a boxer. By the time he was 16 years old, he had his first professional fight against Edmund Ignacio. 

Pacquiao was able to defeat his opponent by unanimous decision in four rounds. It was the beginning of a bright career in the ring. He went on to win titles in a record eight different weight divisions during his long career. 

His fame as a boxer led him to a political career long before he retired from the sport. He ran for Congress in 2007 but failed at his first attempt. His next try was more successful, and he served two terms in the House of Representatives in his home country, starting in 2010. His wife, Jinkee, followed him into politics, and she was elected vice governor of Sarangani in 2013.

In 2016, he extended his political reach and ran for senate. During this campaign, he made some statements that caused an uproar.

‘Worse than animals’

During his campaign, Manny Pacquiao appeared on the country’s TV5 election site. According to The Guardian, he made comments about the LGBTQ community that drew outrage from the public.

“It’s common sense,” he said. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”

The backlash was swift. People publically denounced his statement, especially members of the LGBTQ community. This included singer Aia Seguerra, who called him an “ignorant, bigoted hypocrite.” Gay Filipino comedian Vice Ganda tweeted, “Some people think they can judge people like God just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the Bible. The senate needs experts on politics and law, not blind prophets.”

Pacquiao responded to the outcry with an apology for “hurting people” but stood by his belief that same-sex marriage is wrong. Despite this, he insisted, “I’m not condemning LGBT.”

Pacquiao has stayed in the spotlight

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For many public figures, a scandal like that would have ended their career. However, it was barely a bump in the road for Manny Pacquiao. He won the election and served his country as a senator. He recently followed that up with a presidential campaign but conceded the race in May. 

Pacquiao continued boxing, but according to CBS Sports, he also stepped down from that last year after a tough loss to Yordenis Ugas. Despite his retirement, pundits believe he could easily return to the sport. Many insist he still has a shot at competing at the world title level, even at 43 years old. 

For many people, displaying dangerous prejudice against LGBTQ people or any marginalized group would have ended their careers. Yet, Pacquiao managed not only to weather the storm but to thrive. Despite a weak apology, he continued to pull ahead in both boxing and politics.