Folau camp responds to fundraising humiliation
REACTION: Rugby star Israel Folau said his resolve to fight his sacking for controversial comments had “only been hardened” by criticism as a crowdfunding campaign for his legal fees was shut down on Monday.
Super Rugby’s most prolific try-scorer, who is planning a court battle with former employer Rugby Australia, had raised more than Aus$700 000 (US$486,000) of a Aus$3 million target from more than 7 000 donors.
But this will now be refunded after his GoFundMe webpage, set up on Friday, was taken down by the platform which said it wouldn’t “tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion”.
Folau’s camp accused GoFundMe of buckling under pressure and lashed out at “a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters”, which it said included his personal website coming under “what we believe was a sustained cyberattack”.
“Since requesting public donations to help him with his legal action against Rugby Australia, Israel and his supporters have come under intense scrutiny in the media,” a Folau spokesperson said in a statement.
“While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants it known that these attacks have hardened his resolve,” a Folau spokesperson said in a statement.
“Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case.”
GoFundMe Australia regional manager Nicola Britton said the campaign was removed “after a routine period of evaluation”.
“We have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” she added.
“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.
“While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”
YOU are in a fight that YOU chose to be in after YOU broke the terms of YOUR contract, the kids below are in a fight they NEVER wanted to be in & yet YOU think YOU deserve donations more than they do??!!
— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) June 21, 2019