"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon US time. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."
Pacquiao had worked with the shoe and apparel company for about eight years (some of his past Nike ads appear below). The Nike website has apparently already been scrubbed of any mention of Pacquiao.
As reported earlier by sister publication PRWeek, the controversy started when a Filipino TV channel posted on Facebook a video of Pacquiao that was titled "Mas masahol pa sa hayop", which, translated from Pacquiao's native Tagalog, means "worse than an animal".
According to reports from the BBC and others, some of his comments in the video translate as: "It's common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals."
Pacquiao is a member of the lower house of parliament in the Philippines and is seeking election to the Senate in May.
According to Forbes, he earned $12 million from commercial endorsements in 2015. He has in the past lent his name and face to brands including Nestlé's Butterfinger Cups, Wonderful Pistachios, HP, San Miguel, Head & Shoulders and Foot Locker. Wonderful Pistachios has already moved to distance itself from the boxer. A Foot Locker ad from last April no longer appears on official Foot Locker YouTube channels (here's an alternate), and the brand's page dedicated to him now results in a 404 error.
ESPN's Darren Rovell broke the news of Nike's termination in a tweet.
BREAKING: Nike has terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao due to recent comments. Nike statement: pic.twitter.com/3xZ7e08EtU— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 17, 2016
Pacquiao and Nike work
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