On Monday morning, Israel Folau’s controversial GoFundMe page, which was raising funds for his legal defence, was deleted.
The crowdfunding platform released a statement to The Age 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.
It did appear, however, that Folau’s appeal for money breached the company’s Terms and Conditions.
According to Number 8, Section A of GoFundMe’s Terms and Conditions, campaigns which they deem to be in support of, or for the legal defence of, the following crimes are prohibited.
“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.”