Memo to Manny Pacquiao: Respect begets respect
Celebrities weigh in on the statements of boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao, who denounced same-sex marriage and claimed in a TV interview that members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community are “worse than animals.”
On Thursday, Pacquiao, who is running for senator, lost a clothing sponsorship deal with sportswear giant Nike as a result of the ensuing controversy.
He has since apologized for his pronouncements—his second time to get embroiled in a word war with gender-equality advocates.
Aiza Seguerra, singer: I am happy that you were able to find your peace. I respect your religion, beliefs and the things that you stand for. I even respect that you are not for same-sex marriage. But for you to disrespect our humanity and belittle our capacity to love and our right to choose the people we want to spend the rest of our lives with because it is against your faith… that is something I cannot accept. Not from you, not from anyone.
Jose Javier Reyes, filmmaker: We must respect every one’s opinion, more so other people’s beliefs. But with this comes the sensitivity in expressing one’s stand so as not to cross the line between assertion and derision. When a remark becomes derogatory and demeaning, it ceases to be a declaration of a principle, but palpable proof of discrimination. As a public figure whose popularity crosses time zones, his words are given much weight and importance—that is why he is paid millions of dollars in endorsement deals. Thus, it is the choice of words rather than the stand that is abhorred and condemned. I do not think the God I know and love, who is all-encompassing and teaches us to look out for one another regardless of our differences, would tolerate Mr. Pacquiao’s statement.
Monique Wilson, actress-activist: I find it ironic that a man, who spends his life and makes billions (and has made a political career) out of beating up other men and bloodying their faces, would call us, members of the LGBT community, worse than animals. This kind of bigotry and hatred is exactly what we are “rising” against. Is this man the true “hero” or “champion” we hold him to be? I prefer to support champions of all human rights. Now, he is not just punching people in their faces; he is punching them in their hearts. Apologies are not enough. He has to revolutionize his mindset and actions. To discriminate is an act of violence.
Epy Quizon, actor: I am for same-sex marriage and, at first, I myself was offended by Manny’s statements. But we really have to watch the full interview. His statement, “I am not condemning them,” was edited out. He has said sorry already. Let’s learn to forgive.
Alvin Anson, actor: One thing is for sure, this mistake is a big lesson learned for Manny. I’m sure he is still being molded to become an even better servant of God and of our people. I believe the message he wanted to convey was: “Love the sinner, dislike the sin.” Wrong choice of words… but he’s humble enough to apologize.
Jun Jun Quintana, actor: He really needs someone to give him advice before he grants interviews. Even if you are not part of the LGBT community, you can get offended by his statements. He needs to be more careful in expressing his ideas—especially since it’s election time.
Mimi Juareza, actress: Of course, I was hurt that we were compared to animals. It’s disappointing, because I idolize him as a boxer and respect him for bringing honor to our country. The anger of the LGBT community cannot be avoided, though. This controversy only proves that there is no room in the Senate for someone who lacks knowledge and compassion. Can wealth really blind people… that some forget to look at themselves in the mirror?
Nora Aunor, internationally acclaimed actress: Sira pala ang ulo niya. Palibhasa, sumobra ang kayabangan niya. Isa pa, wala naman siyang naiintindihan sa mga sinasabi niya. Sa kanya, may masabi lang. Siya kaya, ano kaya siya? Womanizer? Sugarol? Ipokrito? Mas masahol pa sa hayop? Isa pa, nasa gobyerno siya. ’Yong personal na opinyon niya, dapat itago na lang niya sa sarili niya.
(He must be crazy. He has become too arrogant. Also, he doesn’t understand what he is saying. He’s just talking for the sake of talking. [If members of the LGBT community are compared to animals,] what do you call him? A womanizer? A gambler? A hypocrite? Worse than an animal? Moreover, he is in government and should keep his personal opinions to himself).
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