In a video posted last week by television network TV5 on their election site, Manny Pacquiao, a Christian and a senatorial hopeful was seen stating that people in same-sex marriages “are worse than animals.” His statement sparked an outrage among thousands of netizens around the world, most especially from the LGBT community.
Indeed, the world-renowned boxer was grilled on hot fire because of it. Christians like him believe that Pacquiao was simply stating his stand on the matter of same sex unions and did not mean to offend anyone. But how do we expect people nowadays to understand such a very strict perspective? Aren’t we in a more liberal world where being open-minded is expected of everyone? Statements regarding religious or spiritual beliefs are at times considered as too limiting and discriminating.
The video that first appeared online was found out to be edited as it did not include the boxer’s statements after his remarks on same-sex marriage. In the original and complete video, Pacquiao stressed that he is not condemning the LGBT group and is only against same-sex marriage which he clarified in his apology video and succeeding interviews.
After the scandal broke, TV5 released a statement saying that they did not have any intention of misleading the public regarding Pacquiao’s declarations. According to the network, they released the complete video on their prime time news cast a day after they posted the shorter version online. Even though they admitted their “mistake”, what TV5 has done with the video interview is just plain wrong. They should have just published the complete interview both on television and online as a very sensitive matter was being tackled.
I am certain that TV5 was aware that the video will draw a lot of attention but still failed to handle it in a manner that was fair to the interviewee. Pacquiao, in my opinion, had well-meaning intentions in expressing his beliefs. However, he failed to state it in a more intelligent and respectful manner. TV5 should have caught that and released the full video to avoid further misinterpretation. The network is not exactly new in the industry to not recognize the possibility of a backlash – and a huge one at that given the theme of the issue. And why cut a video to be posted online where “air time” is virtually unlimited?
This is also a proof of how powerful technology and media are that they can manipulate the reaction of the audience and destroy someone’s reputation, whether intentional or not. Social media allows reaching out to more people faster than ever. This is also why its effects are almost impossible to reverse.
For us, the netizens, the more powerful social media becomes the more we should train ourselves to become discerning of what we see and hear online. We should re-affirm our values of respecting others, being kind and not being too quick to judge. We should be controlling and consuming progress and not the other way around.