A rugby fan has set up a rival GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise “more funds than Folau” for an LGBT rights charity, after the fallen rugby star asked for public donations for his legal action against Rugby Australia this week.
The campaign, titled “Israel Folau’s intolerance will not be tolerated”, aims to raise funds for Stonewall, a UK-based organisation that aims to “let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they’re not alone”.
“We cannot know what damage Folau’s comments may have had, and it’s important we support those looking to undo that damage and aid those who need help being able to be themselves,” organiser, Robbie Owen, wrote in the GoFundMe campaign’s description.
“I have set the goal to $3 million AUD just to match Folau’s overambitious aims. I don’t expect for a moment that we’ll reach this ‘target’, but the real aim is just to raise more funds than Folau.
“The money will be going to a good cause, and it’ll send the message once and for all: If he wants to continue to use his profile and platform to preach hate, Israel Folau picked the wrong sport, because intolerance such as his will never be tolerated in rugby.”
The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $6,500 since it was launched on Friday.
It comes after Folau thanked fans for their support as public donations towards his legal fight against Rugby Australia soared past the $600,000 mark on Saturday.
Taking to Instagram, he wrote: “Thank you to all those who have given to my Legal Action Fund so far. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I have received, for which I am very grateful.
“I have received thousands of messages from supporters who believe discrimination in the workplace is wrong and has no place in Australia or anywhere else.”
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to all those who have given to my Legal Action Fund so far. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I have received, for which I am very grateful. Unsurprisingly, I have been criticised by Rugby Australia and some sections of the media overnight. I decided to take legal action when Rugby Australia terminated my employment contract and ended my playing career after I expressed my religious beliefs on social media. I have received thousands of messages from supporters who believe discrimination in the workplace is wrong and has no place in Australia or anywhere else. Sadly, Rugby Australia have said that they will devote significant resources to fight me in court. This shows I have a long and hard battle on my hands, which is why I am asking for your support. The money that is donated will be used to fund my legal battle, which could take years. While the attacks against me have shown I have a big fight on my hands, I will stand strong. Your support and my faith in Jesus Christ will give me strength. If you choose to donate, within your capacity, I would be very grateful of your support for my legal case. For those not in the position to donate, I value your prayers and messages of support so much. God bless!
Earlier this week, Folau launched an online appeal and asked the public to help support him as he pursues a legal battle against his former employers, arguing that they sacked him over his religious beliefs after he stood by the statements he shared on Instagram.
The 30-year-old sportsman shared a video online on Thursday, titled ‘Looking for your support’, in which he revealed he has already spent more than $100,000 fighting his termination. He has also set up a GoFundMe page and asked for people to donate cash to his cause, with a goal of raising $3 million.