Fundraising platform GoFundMe has been accused of hypocrisy after it shut down Israel Folau’s campaign but allowed others to remain active.
Some of the active campaigns include a transgender nurse raising money for plastic surgery and a man who is fundraising to purchase a Ferrari to ‘cure’ his anxiety.
Folau launched an appeal for $3million to support his legal battle against Rugby Australia on Friday and raised more than $750,000 within four days.
But the fundraising platform said on Monday it was pulling the campaign and issuing full refunds to the thousands of donors after it concluded the campaign violated terms of service.
Israel Folau (pictured with wife Maria) had his GoFundMe page taken down on Monday for ‘discrimination’
Meanwhile, some of Folau’s biggest supporters argue the site has allowed equally controversial appeals to remain on the platform, and even supported them.
A similar campaign for Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn was allowed to remain on the site.
Lynn is raising money to foot his legal bills after he was arrested for allegedly shouting ‘derogatory comments’ about gay people in Toronto.
‘This is a clear and closed case and a perfect opportunity to make a statement for free speech,’ the page reads.
It has currently raised more than $50,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn (pictured), who was arrested for allegedly making ‘disparaging’ comments has raised more than $50,000 on his still active page
Another hopes to raise $500,000 to buy a Ferrari which the 20-year-old account-holder says will cure his anxiety.
Dylan Wheeler was given the green light to raise money for the luxury car in 2016 after he claimed his doctor told him it was a necessity he would be ‘unable to function properly without’.
Similarly, the US based public platform currently hosts hundreds of freedom of speech fundraisers, including for a woman who was suspended from work after expressing her views against relationship and sex education in UK public schools.
The Australian political group ‘Love Australia or Leave Party’ also has an active fundraiser for freedom of speech after they were banned from hosting party meetings in a local pub.
The campaign has been active for more than two years.
‘Freedom of speech in Australia has been slowly eroding, it is important to stand our ground to fight for our rights so that we can continue to live in a free and democratic society,’ they say in the post.
The Australian political group ‘Love Australia or Leave Party’ also has an active fundraiser for freedom of speech after they were banned from hosting party meetings in a local pub
Another argues freedom of speech has been quashed in Sweden after two attempts to register the licence plate ‘atheist’ were rejected.
A nursing assistant working in aged care has an active account on GoFundMe to raise $17,000 for vocal feminisation surgery, cheek implants and a lip lift.
She has raised $5 in a month.
A nursing assistant working in aged care has an active account on GoFundMe to raise $17,000 for vocal feminisation surgery, cheek implants and a lip lift
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young raised money on the platform for her legal costs after she launched a defamation case against another senator who told her to ‘stop shagging men’.
Jeremy Sammut, a senior research fellow with the Centre for Independent Studies, told The Australian the decision to shut down Israel Folau’s account demonstrated the company ‘jumping on the progressive bandwagon’.
‘It’s dressed up as inclusivity, but it is really demanding citizens to sacrifice their fundamental human rights.’
In response to GoFundMe’s decision to terminate the campaign, the Australian Christian Lobby set up a new fundraising page to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia.
The page, hosted on the lobby’s website, has already received more than $400,000 in just hours.
ACL Managing director Martyn Iles set up the new fund and said his group will donate $100,000.
Daily Mail Australia has reached out to GoFundMe for comment.
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles (left with Folau) confirmed the organisation will kick off a new fund with a $100,000 donation as earlier as Tuesday.
‘We do not tolerate discrimination’: GoFundMe’s statement on Folau
Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors. After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service.
As a company, we are 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.
In the days since Mr Folau’s campaign launched, more than one million dollars have been donated to hundreds of other campaigns, large and small, across Australia. Those acts of kindness are the heart of GoFundMe.
Our platform exists to help people help others. Australians have shown themselves to be among the most kind and generous people in the world. We look forward to helping more Australians fundraise for causes they care about in the coming months and years.
Despite being a muti-millionaire with a $6million property portfolio, Folau asked regular Australians to pay $3million for his legal fees via a GoFundMe campaign