Sacked Wallaby Israel Folau’s attempt to crowdfund for his legal action against Rugby Australia has been shut down by GoFundMe, who will refund all money raised to donors.
- GoFundMe said it was “absolutely committed” to fighting for LGBTIQ+ people and inclusivity
- The appeal, which Folau said would cover his legal costs in suing Rugby Australia, had raised over $750,000
- Folau’s $4 million contract was terminated by Rugby Australia last month
Folau started a GoFundMe campaign last week, asking people to donate $3 million to fight Rugby Australia, which last month terminated his contract over a series of homophobic social media posts.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe said after a “period of evaluation”, they had ruled Folau’s campaign violated its terms of service.
The company said it would not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.
“We are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity,” GoFundMe’s Australian regional director Nicola Britton said.
Folau’s $4 million contract was terminated by Rugby Australia last month after he made a post on his Instagram page which claimed homosexuals, among other people, would burn in hell.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle condemned Folau’s public appeal for money at the weekend.
“From our perspective, [GoFundMe] is a place where sick children get support, so it’s certainly not a strategy we think is appropriate,” Castle said.
Folau said he was asking for support as Rugby Australia would be able to devote “significant resources” to fight him in court.
Some people, including former Wallaby Drew Mitchell, attacked Folau’s decision to raise money online, arguing there were more important causes that should be supported.
After being created on June 18, his campaign had raised more than $750,000.
GoFundMe said over $1 million has been donated to hundreds of other campaigns across Australia since Folau launched his appeal for cash.
“Our platform exists to help people help others,” Ms Britton said.
“Australians have shown themselves to be among the most kind and generous people in the world.
“We look forward to helping more Australians fundraise for causes they care about in the coming months and years.”