Rugby player Israel Folau’s legal GoFundMe campaign has been removed from the site for violating their terms of service.
Folau who had his $4 million Rugby Australia playing contract terminated for his sinners Instagram post was planning to challenge Rugby Australia’s decision at the Fair Work Commission seeking $10 million in compensation.
He launched a legal GoFundMe campaign on Friday seeking $3 million in legal costs. The campaign attracted significant controversy due to Folau’s already existing wealth including a property portfolio worth $7 million. Many also accused Folau of taking away donations from sick children who use GoFundMe to fund medical treatment.
Though it should be noted that GoFundMe has been used to fund legal expenses before. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young used it to crowdfund her defamation case against former Senator David Leyonhjelm who accused her of saying all men are rapists.
$100,000 was also raised for Will Connolly who egged former Senator Fraser Anning to fund a legal defence for his assault to buy more eggs. Connolly eventually donated the funds to the Christchurch Terror attack victims.
Despite the controversy surrounding it Folau’s GoFundMe had raised $700,000 of its $3 million target before its termination with donors believing it to be an important battle for free speech and religion in Australia
GoFundMe Australia’s regional manager Nicola Britton said their decision to terminate Folau’s GoFundMe was done “after a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service” with all donations to be refunded.
Britton went onto add “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”.
GoFundMe is just one of many crowdfunding platforms online, but is the most well known and utilized. Folau could certainly move to another site to take donations.
But the deplatforming movement has now come after Folau in a clear sign the corporate tech giants will do their best to frustrate his legal campaign due to his views.