A new fundraiser to help controversial anti-gay former rugby player, Israel Folau, has raised almost AU$1 million (US$696,000/€610,672) in a matter of hours.
Folau is trying to raise funds to cover his legal costs in a battle against Rugby Australia (RA) who fired him for breach of contract. RA argued Folau breached his contract multiple times for posting anti-gay content on his social media.
The former national player posted ‘homosexual’ faced hell if they did not repent for their sins. He also criticized new gender laws in Tasmania and posted other anti-trans content.
Folau started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, which the website shutdown saying it breached their terms of service
‘While we welcome GoFundMe engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion,’ said GoFundMe’s regional manager Nicola Britton said earlier this week.
‘Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors.’
Australian Christian Lobby fundraiser
But influential Christian political lobbying group, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), stepped in to help Folau.
It set up a fundraiser on its website for Folau’s legal fees. People flooded the fundraiser, donating about AU$1,000 per minute. (US$696/€610).
The ACL pledged to $100,000 of its own money to the fundraiser.
‘There is an outpouring of support for Israel Folau from the Australian community, who see Israel’s case as their case. They feel the pinch of political correctness, and the erosion of their basic freedoms,’ said ACL managing director, Martyn Iles.
‘Folau’s supporters will only be emboldened in their commitment by what has happened. They were concerned about their freedoms, and GoFundMe has yet again reminded them that their concerns are real.
“Israel’s case is our case if we want to live free and embrace our beliefs without fear of being marginalized or discriminated against.”
ACL said it would deposit all the funds raised into a legal trust account, for Folau to use exclusively for legal expenses.