GoFundMe shuts fundraising page that raised money for homophobic rugby star

The page was set up by Israel Folau to pay for the legal costs of an appeal against his sacking by Rugby Australia, after he said on social media that 'hell awaits' gay people

Israel Folau (Photograph: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Israel Folau (Photograph: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

The crowdfunding website GoFundMe has shut down a fundraising page set up to raise money in support of an appeal by a high-profile rugby union player against his sacking for making homophobic comments.

Israel Folau had his contract cancelled by Rugby Australia in May after saying on social media that "hell awaits" gay people.

Folau, a committed Christian, posted a banner on his Instagram account that said: "Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – hell awaits you."

He started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to pay for the legal costs of mounting an appeal against his sacking.

The page had raised AU$760,000, about £415,000.

But GoFundMe said today that the fundraising page had been cancelled and it would issue full refunds to all donors.

Nicola Britton, regional manager at GoFundMe Australia, said the website had concluded that the campaign violated its terms of service.

"As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity," she said.

"While we welcome engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion."

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