Crowdfunding site GoFundMe has removed the donation drive founded by fired rugby player Israel Folau, who said he was seeking $3 million in donations to fund his legal battle against former employer Rugby Australia.
The GoFundMe page, which had amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations since it was created last week, now says “We’re sorry, but the campaign link you entered cannot be found.”
In a statement, GoFundMe Australia’s Nicola Britton said the crowdfunding campaign was found to be in violation of the organisation’s terms of service.
She added that all donors will receive full refunds.
Folau’s lucrative contract with Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs was terminated in May after he was found to have violated the organisation’s player policy by sharing a homophobic Instagram post.
The former Wallaby said the post was merely an expression of his Christian values and that he would challenge his termination at the FairWork Commission, arguing that his firing was an example of religious discrimination in the workplace.
Britton said GoFundMe is “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.”
The decision comes after a mass backlash against Folau, with critics saying the crowdfunding campaign legitimised homophobic viewpoints.
Folau is yet to issue a statement on the deletion of the GoFundMe page.
More to come.