World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao came under fire for comments he supposedly made calling for the death of homosexuals during an interview with the conservative publication, the National Conservative Examiner.
The writer of that report, Granville Ampong, later confirmed Pacquiao never referenced the passage from Leviticus 20:13 that Ampong quoted in the article.
That Biblical passage reads: “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.”
Local news from across Southern California
The developer and owner of The Grove, Rick Caruso, banned Pacquiao from the location following the report. Pacquiao was scheduled to do an interview at the Los Angeles mall in the Fairfax District with Extra’s Mario Lopez on Wednesday.
The Grove tweeted the boxer was not welcome, adding: “@TheGroveLA is a gathering place for all Angelenos, not a place for intolerance.”
Caruso has since lifted the ban.
The article under scrutiny quotes Pacquaio as: “God’s words first…obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man,” when asked about the recent announcement of President Barack Obama’s support of same sex marriage.
But the athlete and legislator in his native Philippines told several media outlets that those were not his words.
"I didn't say that, that's a lie,” he said. “I didn't know that quote from Leviticus because I haven't read the Book of Leviticus yet.
“I’m not against gay people… I have a relative who is also gay. We can’t help it if they were born that way. What I’m critical off are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same sex marriage is against the law of God.”
Blogs and media outlets picked up the interview and the reaction led to angry posts on the Hennessy Facebook page, one of Pacquiao’s sponsors.
A petition surfaced on the website Change.org asking another sponsor, Nike, to drop the boxer. It reportedly received 4,868 signatures before being suspended Wednesday.
Ampong, the writer of the original story, posted a new column late Wednesday saying he used the Bible quotes to enhance the references of the old Testament. He insists other reporters took his words and misquoted both him and the boxer.
“I hereby demand both Weir and Romero to apologize to Pacquiao,” Ampong wrote. “They, being writers for USA Today and LA Weekly respectively, should have a better reading comprehension than I do, rhetorically.”
Pacquiao, who lives and trains in Los Angeles, is the Philippines most famous native and one of the world's most popular athletes.
The eight-division world champion is a movie star, singer and congressman, representing the Sarangani province in the Philippines' House of Representatives since May 2010.
According to reports, Pacquiao embraced Catholicism in recent months following marital problems with his wife.