Filipino boxing champ, Congressman, pop singer and all-round international celebrity Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao was in hot water this week in Los Angeles this week over "gay hate speech" that somebody said that somebody else said that somebody else said that he said.
Here's the story. Pacquiao was interviewed by Granville Ampong, an LA columnist for a Filipino site, the Conservative Examiner. Amidst some inept prose, Mr Ampong quoted Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman… They must be put to death.” This was considerably more graphic than Pacman's own words.
Without waiting to read further, an LA Weekly blogger posted an article under the headline "Manny Pacquiao Says Gay Men Should Be 'Put to Death'." Since the boxer lives in LA, where the gay community is particularly strong, gay activists tweeted and retreated the allegation. The Grove, an LA mall where the syndicated entertainment-news show "Extra" films its episodes, immediately banned Pacquiao over his intolerance.
In the era of 24/7 information on tap, nobody, it seems, had read the original article.
Here's what Manny Pacquiao really said. He was being interviewed over President Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage.
"God's words first ... obey God's law first before considering the laws of man… God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old."
That's hard-hitting stuff, but it is not an endorsement of gay-bashing. In fact, with the naivete which is part of his charm, Pacquiao later told the Los Angeles Times, "I didn't know that quote from Leviticus because I haven't read the Book of Leviticus yet."
He also insisted that he did not hate gays: "I am against gay marriage, but I'm not condemning gays," he said. "I have family -- a cousin -- who's gay, and friends, too. I'm just against gay marriage. I don't even want to talk about the issue, but I was asked about it, so I gave my opinion."
The Grove has withdrawn its ban on Pacquiao.
The lesson seems to be that the gay community, at least in LA, is just a wee bit hypersensitive, not to say paranoid. After all, when Bil Maher let loose with some ghastly innuendo in an interview at The Grove with "Extra's" Mario Lopez last year, there was not a peep of protest from his targets. Some people can dish it out, but they can't take it.