Former Waratahs and Wallabies star Israel Folau has this afternoon slammed crowdfunding website GoFundMe after their decision to shut down his campaign to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia.
The statement from Folau’s camp stated it was a disappointing decision and said that GoFundMe had buckled to demand.
“The decision of GoFundMe to cancel Israel’s fundraising campaign to support his Legal Action Fund is very disappointing,” read Folau’s statement.
“The fundraising campaign was in line with GoFundMe’s Terms and Conditions as well as all relevant rules and regulations.
“Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause.
“There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters,” the statement read.
“Israel Folau is very grateful to the 10,000 plus supporters who believed in good faith that their donations would contribute to his case against Rugby Australia.”
The statement also said that several organisations had expressed interest in helping Folau, although didn’t give any further details.
“Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case,” read Folau’s statement.
Folau was controversially sacked by Rugby Australia earlier this year after posting an image on social media, and on appeal, it was found he had committed the high-level breach, which saw his contract torn up.
GoFundMe took the campaign down on account of it not falling into their terms and conditions, which are stated on their website, and include a disclaimer that they have sole discretion over campaigns.
“Campaigns we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”
The utility back has been criticised heavily for starting the crowdfunding campaign given his financial status, and according to the statement from Folau’s spokesperson, his website has also come under attack.
“Further, Israel’s website has been the target of what we believe was a sustained cyberattack and there has been a deliberate and attempt to vilify his wife Maria for supporting her husband.”
It’s not yet known when Folau will take the next step in his action against Rugby Australia.