Despite being worth millions, Israel Folau outrageously wants others to pay for him to be able to justify his homophobia and bigotry in court.
The disgraced former Wallabies star is raising funds for a legal battle against Rugby Australia after he was recently sacked for violating the organisation’s social media policy and values, thanks to a series of homophobic posts.
Not only is he challenging the basis of his firing but he is also claiming a whopping Aus$10 million in damages. Folau, 30, claims that he’s being persecuted because of his religious beliefs, but doesn’t seem to be prepared to put his own money where his mouth is.
It’s been estimated that he’s earned around Aus$8 million during his career and owns Aus$5 million in property. That hasn’t stopped him from shamefully asking the public to part with their cash for his cause; in essence, making more money for himself through the courts!
Folau initially set up a GoFundMe page to raise his goal of Aus$3 million to take on his former bosses. He managed to get Aus$700,000 in pledges before GoFundMe shut down the page because it was being used, said to the site, to “tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion”. The donors have since been refunded their money.
Now, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has stepped in to support Folau. The group claims to have raised Aus$1,5 million in just a couple of days through its own website. “Please give generously today to help Israel Folau stand for your religious freedom,” pleaded Martyn Iles, Managing Director of ACL.
The Australian media has lambasted the sportsman for his greed, hypocrisy and lack of ethics. Former rugby player Peter FitzSimons said that Folau’s fundraising campaign was “absurd”, and aims to “get lawyers to help a millionaire footballer who broke a solid commitment and got sacked for his trouble…”
Writing for news.com.au, Paul Johnson implored “anyone thinking about donating to Folau to think how this man could possibly need your money over sick kids, homeless people, animal welfare or human crises in the third world.”
Johnson added: “What will giving him your money achieve, aside from keeping this already wealthy man in the lifestyle he is accustomed to and allowing him to preach hate?”
Folau came under fire in April after sharing an Instagram post declaring that “Hell awaits” gay people. On Twitter, he also called on Australians to “repent and turn away from your evil ways” over the introduction of gender optional birth certificates in the state of Tasmania.
Folau, who was warned in 2018 about a previous homophobic post, refused to apologise or retract the comments.