HBO calls Pacquiao comments 'insensitive, offensive, deplorable'

Three weeks after Manny Pacquiao was heavily criticized around the world for anti-gay comments, in which he denounced people in same-sex relationships as "worse than animals," HBO released a statement condemning the comments.

"Next month Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. are scheduled to meet in a pay-per-view bout. We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event. However, we felt it important to leave no uncertainty about our position on Mr. Pacquiao's recent comments toward the LGBTQ community. We consider them insensitive, offensive and deplorable," the network said Wednesday. "HBO has been a proud home to many LGBTQ stories and couldn't approach this event without clearly voicing our opinion."

HBO has backed Pacquiao's career since 2001, including his upcoming fight with Bradley in Las Vegas on April 9.

Pacquiao's comments cost him an endorsement deal with apparel giant Nike.

Besides his upcoming third fight with Bradley, after which Pacquiao said he will retire, the Filipino congressman is running for a senate seat in the May national elections.

Pacquiao apologized for his remarks in a Facebook video in which he said, "I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt."