The controversial fundraising page set up by Israel Folau to fund his legal fight with Rugby Australia has been closed down with funds expected to be returned to the benefactors.
Folau started a GoFundMe page with a $3-million goal, asking for public donations to help him with a legal fight against RA, arguing the body dismissed him unlawfully. He raised $672,640 in just four days.
The act drew criticism – aimed at both Folau for his greed and at GoFundMe for allowing the page on its website – from all over the world. On Monday GoFundMe Australia decided to shut down page, saying that Folau breached the organisation’s terms and conditions.
‘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.’
In the aftermath of his page being shut down, Folau’s camp issued a statement stating the player and his wife Maria are targets of a sustained cyberattack. The statement also indicated that ‘several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case’.
BREAKING: Statement from Folau camp after GoFundMe page pulled down pic.twitter.com/qNz0pBD96q
— Tom Decent (@tomdecent) June 24, 2019
Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images