GoFundMe Shuts Down Page For Anti-LGBT Rugby Star

The BBC reports:

A controversial fundraising page set up by sacked Australian rugby player Israel Folau has been shut down for promoting the exclusion of LGBT people, website GoFundMe says. Folau had his contract with Rugby Australia (RA) terminated in May after he said that “hell awaits” gay people.

He asked for public donations to help him with a legal fight against RA, arguing it dismissed him unlawfully. GoFundMe said the page violated its rules. All donations will be refunded.

“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity,” said spokeswoman Nicola Britton. “While we welcome GoFundMe’s engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”

The Guardian reports:

A spokesman for Folau characterised GoFundMe’s decision to take down his fundraising campaign as “very disappointing”.

“Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause,” a spokesman said. “There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters.”

The rugby star had collected more than $750,000 as of Sunday night as he sought donations from the public for his legal fight, with a $3m target. “Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case,” a spokesman said.