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GoFundMe Shuts Down Fundraiser for Homophobic Rugby Player

Israel Folau
Wikimedia Commons

Israel Folau wanted $3 million to challenge his termination by Rugby Australia.

GoFundMe has shut down a fundraiser for an Australian rugby player who was fired for espousing homophobic views online.

Israel Folau, reportedly the highest-paid player in the Rugby Australia league, was fired in May after posting an Instagram message to LGBTQ people saying that "hell awaits you." Last week, Folau set up a $3 million fundraiser to finance a legal challenge to his termination.

But GoFundMe said Folau violated company terms of service for promoting the exclusion of LGBTQ individuals.

"As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity," GoFundMe spokeswoman Nicola Britton told the BBC.

"While we welcome GoFundMe's engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion."

Folau has left the offending Instagram message up for months. In full, the message reads: "WARNING: Drunks Homosexuals Liars Fornicators Thieves Atheists Idolaters HELL AWAITS YOU REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES".

Folau has defended his fundraising efforts. He maintains he is the one facing discrimination.

"Unsurprisingly, I have been criticised by Rugby Australia and some sections of the media overnight," he wrote on Instagram.

"I decided to take legal action when Rugby Australia terminated my employment contract and ended my playing career after I expressed my religious beliefs on social media.

"I have received thousands of messages from supporters who believe discrimination in the workplace is wrong and has no place in Australia or anywhere else. Sadly, Rugby Australia have said that they will devote significant resources to fight me in court."

Of course, he also has virulent homophobe Margaret Court in his corner.

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