Ousted Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle was reportedly subjected to a death threat and bullying during the Israel Folau saga last year.
After her sacking on Thursday, details have emerged of the horrifying incident with a source ‘with knowledge of the situation’ telling the Australian Sun-Herald that the threat came a month after Folau’s anti-gay Instagram post.
In 2018, Folau was given a formal warning for social media comments, which caused an outcry and threats from sponsors to walk out on RA.
Then in April last year, Folau shared a controversial Instagram post which led to a three-day code of conduct hearing the following month. Eventually his contract was torn up.
The threat reportedly came through a Facebook message in May 2019, forcing RA to implement increased security for Castle’s protection.
There were concerns the person who made the threat, or another individual, would try to make their way into RA headquarters, so the governing body acted to ensure that could not happen.
Castle’s Sydney home was also the subject of a security review to ensure it was safe.
Acting RA chairman Paul McLean told the Sydney Morning Herald that the abuse she received during her tenure was frustrating.
‘I’m not a social media person, but I’m aware of some of the things that were said over a period of time in a quite vicious and vitriolic way,’ he explained.
‘It’s the silent forces, the dark forces, they’re the things that upset me most. It’s the people who didn’t know the facts or were just one of those faceless people out there – that was the damaging thing from her perspective. She shared some of that with me, which I found quite abhorrent.
‘One of my greatest concerns with her was her welfare and how she was on a daily basis. A lesser person would have thrown the towel in ages ago, quite simply.’
Castle stood down on Thursday after learning she’d lost the support of the RA board. The search for her replacement will begin on Monday.
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