Boxer Manny Pacquiao has stepped into the ring against LGBT equality, and it’s one fight he’s not going to win. Yesterday, the Filipino fighter-turned-politician made headlines when he spoke out against same-sex marriage and allegedly criticized President Obama.
But the controversy doesn’t end there.
Conservative writer Granville Ampong published an interview with Pacquiao on Examiner.com, wherein Pacquaio discusses his views on LGBT rights. Like many people of faith, Pacquaio opposes marriage equality based on his interpretation of the Bible. He makes the old “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” argument. Yawn.
But controversy erupted over a paragraph in Ampong’s interview where Pacquaio seems to be calling for death to gays:
Pacquiao’s directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation, notwithstanding what Leviticus 20:13 has been pointing all along: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” [source]
Today, new information has revealed that Pacquiao never gave Obama any directive, and he never quoted Leviticus 20:13. Speaking to ABS-CBNnews in Manila, Pacquaio said he’s never actually read the oft-cited scripture. “I didn’t say that, that’s a lie… I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet.”
It turns out that Ampong simply made the whole thing up. “Pacquiao never said nor recited, nor invoked [Leviticus] and nor did he ever refer to such context,” Ampong wrote in a new Examiner piece defending Pacquiao.
Instead of issuing his own apology or a formal retraction, Ampong blames “biased writers” for misconstruing the story. He insists that “nowhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such.”
Although many of Monday’s stories have been updated or retracted, it’s unclear how long this controversy will haunt Pacquiao. Huffington Post reports that The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao was scheduled to do a television interview, has banned the boxer over Ampong’s wrongly-attributed remarks.
Let’s hope this story serves as a cautionary tale for internet journalists.
Photo credit: Roger Alcantara (Creative Commons)