Israel Folau's GoFundMe Has Been Taken Down
The GoFundMe page set up by Israel Folau asking supporters to donate to his legal proceedings against Rugby Australia has been removed.
The GoFundMe page received vast criticism for hosting Folau's plea for help with his legal funds, including one Change.Org petition that gained over 94,000 signatures over the course of the weekend asking for its removal.
GoFundMe Australia have released a statement saying that the page was removed after "a routine period of evaluation" that found the page violated the company's terms of service.
All donations will be refunded in full to donors.
GoFundMe added that while the company welcomes "engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion".
The page's removal comes after netball legend Liz Ellis slammed Netball South Australia for failing to take a more decisive stance against Maria Folau after the netball player posted on Instagram in support of her husband's fundraising.
Maria, like her husband, is deeply religious and entered into the public debate surrounding his homophobic views on Friday.
Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia in May for violating their Inclusion Policy after repeatedly saying that gays and other people who participated in sin would be going to hell.
Maria and Israel set up the GoFundMe page late last week with the goal of raising $3 million to fight what they believe was an unlawful termination of Folau's contract.
The couple claim to have already spent $100,000 of their own money in legal costs are now asking for help to raise cash "solely to fund the rest of my action in court".
The GoFundMe has already accrued a whopping $764,000.
Maria posted a picture that simply read "support" on her Instagram with the caption originally written by Folau on his own page.
The caption asks followers to "stand with" him and posits that "those who believe in the right to practise religion without fear of discrimination in the workplace" should donate.
On Sunday, Netball Australia, Super Netball and the Adelaide Thunderbirds (the team that Maria currently plays for) released near-identical statements, with each saying that they do not endorse the reposting of Folau's plea but also asserting that "we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy".
Ellis posted the statement from the Thunderbirds on Twitter with the comment that it was "not good enough".
She suggested that the organisations instead state that there is "no room for homophobia in our game" and that anyone "who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome".
The Folau's GoFundMe page was also criticised by former Wallabies and NSW Waratahs teammate Drew Mitchell over the weekend, who said Folau's problem was now greed, rather than his religious stance.
Mitchell posted a photograph of the GoFundMe page that Folau's post is sitting on, surrounded by photographs of children experiencing chronic illness.
"YOU are in a fight that YOU chose to be in after YOU broke the terms of YOUR contract, the kids below are in a fight they NEVER wanted to be in".