Grove source explains Pacquiao's ban over gay comments
The Grove shopping mall's decision to ban Manny Pacquiao was based what on turned out to be erroneous information that the boxing legend had said gay men should die, according to a source in the Grove organization.
The Grove announced the ban Tuesday evening.
"Based on news reports of statements made by Mr. Pacquiao, we have made it be known that he is not welcome at the Grove and will not be interviewed here now or in the future. The Grove is a gathering place for all Angelenos and not a place for intolerance," the Grove said in a statement.
Officials from the Grove did not immediately return calls seeking additional comment.
But a source there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the organization, said the ban came in response to media headlines that quoting the boxer as saying “gay men should be put to death.” (Both the boxer and the author of the original interview have denied Pacquiao made the comment).
Pacquiao was scheduled to do an interview on "Extra" on Wednesday, which is shot at the outdoor mall in the Fairfax district next to Farmers Market.
The source said Grove officials feared that allowing Pacquiao’s interview to go forward ultimately could prove disruptive to the Grove and its patrons. The same source stressed that Pacquiao was free to express his views and that the decision to have him interviewed elsewhere “was in everybody’s best interest.”
The source did not elaborate on part of the Grove’s statement suggesting Pacquiao would not be welcome or interviewed “now or in the future” at the shopping center.
Pacquiao spokesman Fred Sternburg told The Times that the boxer will be interviewed by "Extra" host Mario Lopez at another location.
Sternburg also said the controversy has been blown out of proportion by inaccurate comments about his position. "[Manny's] not supportive of gay marriage, but he has nothing against gay people," he said.
In an interview with National Conservative Examiner, Pacquiao addressed President Obama's recent endorsement of gay marriage.
"God's words first ... obey God's law first before considering the laws of man," Pacquiao told the Examiner. "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married. It should not be of the same sex, so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah."
The article goes on to say that "Pacquiao's directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation."
The original story quoted Leviticus 20:13, which states: "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."
But the story did not quote Pacquiao as making the quotation.
Pacquiao later released a statement saying he was misquoted and denying he has animus for gay people. "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."
"I'm not against gay people. I have a relative who is also gay," the boxer insisted. "We can't help it if they were born that way. What I'm critical of are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God."
The writer of the original story also backed up Pacquiao's account. But some media outlets attributed the quote to the boxer.
"I sincerely apologize for the confusion my column has caused. I certainly do not represent Pacquiao nor his team," the author wrote.
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-- Andrew Blankstein and Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao in 2010. Credit: Nick Ut /The Associated Press