The highest trending GoFundMe campaign in the country right now is for Israel Folau’s legal fund.
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.
Just this 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.”
This is in the midst of Folau’s legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission, arguing that the clause in his contract protecting religious freedom was breached.
And then, this week, Folau asked Australia if they might like to pay for it.
Folau, a man who not long ago was making $2 million for every season of footy he was playing, wants Australians to put their hands deep in their pockets and hand over $3 million. That should do it.
In two days, Folau has raised more than $300,000. That number is growing by the second.
But as his campaign sits proudly on the homepage of GoFundMe, it’s difficult not to notice the stark contrast between his plight, and that of the Australians around him.
Former teammate and Wallaby great Drew Mitchell posted a screenshot of GoFundMe to Twitter on Friday afternoon.
His commentary read, “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??!!”
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