Controversial rugby star Israel Folau has shocked the country by coming to the defence of Aussie actress and gay rights activist Magda Szubanski.
The former Wallabies player took to social media at the weekend to show his support of the 58-year-old, pleading with the public to “stop the attacks” against the actress following the launch of her GoFundMe page.
In what was one of very few posts published on Twitter since his sacking from his high-profile position, Folau asked everyone to show some love during what has been a difficult time for the star.
“Hey everyone I totally agree with @bairdjulie – please stop the anonymous online attacks on @MagdaSzubanski who has entered this debate very respectfully,” he wrote.
Hey everyone I totally agree with @bairdjulia – please stop the anonymous online attacks on @MagdaSzubanski who has entered this debate very respectfully. She is entitled to express her views – let’s all have this important discussion with love in our hearts.
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) June 30, 2019
“She is entitled to express her views – let’s all have this important discussion with love in our hearts.”
Folau was referencing a Tweet from journalist Julia Baird who called out the “ugly hate campaign” against Szubanski who launched a rival GoFundMe page called “For Love”. It was created after Folau created his own page to fund his costly legal battle against Rugby Australia.
“Just saw the ugly hate campaign on here against @MagdaSzubanski,” Baird wrote on Twitter. “A note for those who support Folau’s desire to protect and asset Christian faith: you cannot preach peace in the language of war. Or love in the language of hate. Jesus said to love your enemies, not to troll them.”
Just saw the ugly hate campaign on here against @MagdaSzubanski. A note for those who support Folau's desire to protect & assert Christian faith: you cannot preach peace in the language of war. Or love in the language of hate. Jesus said to love your enemies, not troll them.
— Dr Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) June 29, 2019
Speaking out in response to Folau’s message on Twitter, Szubanski replied: “Thank you Israel Folau I hope the same for your and your wife Maria.”
Folau’s online appeal, in which he asked the public to donate $3 million towards his legal fees was pulled down by GoFundMe amid an outpouring of criticism from the public earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Szubanski’s campaign raising funds for the Children’s Cancer Foundation and Twenty10, which provides health, legal and housing services to people of diverse sexualities and gender identities has reached of $250,000.
“Our Australian community is diverse, accepting, powerful, and generous,” the campaign read. “It’s that spirit for which we should be known, and it’s with those values that we should be donating our time and money.
“Fundraising efforts which seek to divide us divert time and energy from those in real, immediate need. There are too many in Australia in the “fight of their lives” – doing their best to survive, and not seeking the chance to put others down.”