Israel Folau's Fund Raising Page Rakes In A Whopping $500,000
Donors have poured more than half a million dollars into Israel Folau's legal fight against Rugby Australia, with the committed Christian pledging to "stand up for the word of God".
Folau had his $4 million RA contract terminated in May after a post he made on social media citing the Bible was deemed homophobic. It followed a similar incident last year.
A Go Fund Me page established by the ex-Wallaby to raise funds for legal costs had raised $515,000 of a $3 million target by midday on Saturday. About 6500 people have donated.
Despite the spike in donations, Folau's decision to take his fight to Go Fund Me has prompted a sharp backlash.
"From our perspective (Go Fund Me) is a place where sick children get support, so it's certainly not a strategy we think is appropriate," Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told Nine News.
Former Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell also slammed Folau's decision, saying there were others more deserving of donations.
"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 & yet YOU think YOU deserve donations more than they do??!!," he posted on Twitter.
READ MORE: Israel Folau Sacked By Rugby Australia
But former Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton defended Folau, saying "if Israel loses, we all do".
In his plea for donations, Folau said he had "the fight of my life on my hands". He has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia and is seeking up to $10 million in damages.
The case could be a landmark test of religious freedoms in Australia.