"A campaign of discrimination." Israel Folau's reps have released a statement after removal of GoFundMe campaign.



Israel Folau’s representatives have released a statement following the removal of his controversial campaign on crowdfunding website, GoFundMe.

The site released a statement to The Age on Monday morning about their decision.

“Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors. After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” GoFundMe Australia regional manager Nicola Britton said.

“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.”

“In the days since Mr Folau’s campaign launched, more than one million dollars have been donated to hundreds of other campaigns, large and small, across Australia. Those acts of kindness are the heart of GoFundMe.

“Our platform exists to help people help others. 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.”

Folau’s appeal for donations came after the termination of his Rugby Australia contract. On Sunday evening, Folau’s donations had exceeded $650,000, making his page the top trending campaign on GoFundMe.

On Monday afternoon, Folau’s representatives released a statement that read, “The decision of GoFundMe to cancel Israel’s fundraising campaign to support his Legal Action Fund is very disappointing.


“The fundraising campaign was in line with GoFundMe’s terms and conditions, as well as all relevant rules and regulations.

“There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters.

“Further, Israel’s website has been the target of what we believe was a sustained cyberattack and there has been a deliberate attempt to vilify his wife Maria for supporting her husband.

“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.

“Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interesting in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case.”

It is unclear at this stage what organisations are interested in supporting Folau’s legal funds.

On Sunday, Mamamia reviewed the Terms and Conditions for GoFundMe, and found that Folau’s campaign breached Number 8, Section A.

“Campaigns we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defence of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases,” the website clearly states.

In April of this year, Folau posted an image to Instagram that read, “Warning: Drunks. Homosexuals. Adulterers. Liars. Fornicators. Thieves. Atheists. Idolaters. Hell awaits you,” before doubling down in the caption, “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent.”


After refusing to delete the image that was deemed to breach Rugby Australia’s commitment to “inclusiveness”, Folau’s contract was terminated.

That wasn’t his first offence though.

The year prior, in 2018, Folau made an explicit comment on Instagram about “gods [sic] plan for gay people.”

“HELL [is gods plan]” Folau wrote. “Unless they repent for their sins and turn to God.”

Around Easter this year, Folau shared a message on Twitter in response to Tasmania’s new law, making it the first state or territory in Australia to make the inclusion of gender optional on birth certificates.

“The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free,” the rugby player wrote.

Then just last week, Folau delivered a sermon at a church in Sydney, where he again addressed “young kids in primary school [being able] to have the permission to change their gender.”

The 30-year-old said, “This is what the devil’s trying to do to instil into this government, into this world, into this society and it’s slowly happening.”

Folau has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission, arguing that the clause in his contract protecting religious freedom was breached.

Despite having earned millions across his successful sporting career, Folau asked Australians to put their hands in their pockets and contribute to his legal defence.

As of this morning, they all got their money back.

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