Nike cuts ties with Manny Pacquiao after derogatory remarks on same-sex couples

Brand takes significant action after disavowing the Filipino boxer and politician's "abhorrent" comments

Manny Pacquiao

Nike said early Thursday that it no longer has any relationship with popular Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao after he made comments comparing same-sex couples to animals.

"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon US time. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."

Pacquiao had worked with the shoe and apparel company for about eight years. The Nike website has apparently already been scrubbed of any mention of Pacquiao.

As reported earlier by PRWeek, the controversy started when a Filipino TV channel posted on Facebook a video of Pacquiao that was titled "Mas masahol pa sa hayop", which, translated from Pacquiao's native Tagalog, means "worse than an animal".

According to reports from the BBC and others, some of his comments in the video translate as: "It's common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals."

Pacquiao posted the video below on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to make amends, but many questioned its sincerity.

I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. I still stand on my belief that I'm against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you.

Posted by Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Pacquiao is a member of the country's parliament and is seeking election to the Senate in May.

According to Forbes, he earned US$12 million from commercial endorsements in 2015. He has lent his name and face to brands including Nestle's Butterfinger CupsWonderful Pistachios and Foot Locker.

Wonderful Pistachios has already moved to distance itself from Pacquiao. A Foot Locker ad from last April has been removed from YouTube, and the brand's page dedicated to him now results in a 404 error.

ESPN's Darren Rovell broke the news of Nike's termination in a tweet.

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