Donations are pouring in at $1,000 per minute for Israel Folau after the Australian Christian Lobby set up a new fundraising page for his legal battle against Rugby Australia.
The page, hosted on the lobby’s website, has already been given more than $400,000 just hours after the star player’s GoFundMe campaign was shut down.
Between 6am and 7am on Tuesday, the amount donated had doubled from around $40,000. By 10am it had reached around $400,000.
The new campaign was set up by ACL Managing director Martyn Iles who said his group will donate $100,000.
Hundreds of supporters, angry with GoFundMe, said they had doubled or tripled their donations this time around.
‘We gave twice what we were going to give,’ said one.
‘I have now donated more than double the amount I had previously donated,’ added another.
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.
Between 6am and 7am on Tuesday, the amount donated had doubled from around $40,000. By 10am it had reached around $400,000
GoFundMe announced on Monday it was pulling Folau’s campaign (pictured) and issuing full refunds to the thousands of donors
‘Israel’s case is our case if we want to live free and embrace our beliefs without fear of being marginalised or discriminated against,’ Iles said.
He writes on the page: ‘Recently the online fundraising platform GoFundMe shut down Israel Folau’s legal defence fund and turned away hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
‘On behalf of the Australian Christian Lobby, I have spoken to Israel Folau to let him know that ACL will be donating $100,000 to his legal defence, because it’s right and it sets an important legal precedent.
‘I have also offered to host his online appeal for funds here on our website and he has accepted our offer.
‘All gifts you give on this web page will be deposited into a trust account to pay for Israel Folau’s legal case.
The Christian lobby is using Folau as a pawn to further their right-wing agenda
Christian priest speaking to Daily Mail
‘So, please give generously today to help Israel Folau stand for your religious freedom.’
The ACL, based in Canberra, has 135,000 members and aims to influence politics with Christian beliefs.
Gosford priest Rod Bower slammed the group, saying it was just using Folau in its wider battle against gay rights.
‘They have been behind this all the way along,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.
‘He’s a pawn in their game – he acted and they jumped on it to use him to further their own conservative agenda.’
‘They are trying to force the government’s hand to change the law and effectively legalise homophobia. If they are successful, vulnerable people will pay.’
It comes after it was revealed GoFundMe shut down Folau’s page while allowing a preacher to raise money to fund legal costs over anti-LGBTI comments.
Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn, who was arrested for allegedly making ‘disparaging’ comments has raised more than $50,000 on his still active page.
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
Israel Folau (pictured with wife Maria) had his GoFundMe page taken down on Monday for ‘discrimination’
Iles (pictured) said it was ‘disappointing’ Folau’s page was shut down after it raised $700,000, but added a new site could be up and running within 24 hours
Folau launched his appeal for $3million on Tuesday and had raised more than $750,000 within six days.
But the fundraising platform said on Monday it was pulling the campaign and refunding thousands of donors.
More than 95,000 people signed an online petition calling on GoFundMe to take down the page, noting its purpose was against the website’s terms and conditions.
‘After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,’ GoFundMe Australia’s regional manager Nicola Britton said in a statement.
‘As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.
‘While we welcome GoFundMe’s engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion,’ she said.
Folau (pictured with his wife) signed a four-year contract in 2018 worth an estimated $5million and has been one of the country’s best paid sportsmen since joining rugby union in 2013
‘GoFundMe has buckled’: Israel Folau’s statement in full
The decision of GoFundMe to cancel Israel’s fundraising campaign to support his Legal Action Fund is very disappointing.
The fundraising campaign was in line with GoFundMe’s Terms and Conditions as well as all relevant rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause.
There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters.
Israel Folau is very grateful to the 10,000 plus supporters who believed in good faith that their donations would contribute to his case against Rugby Australia.
Since requesting public donations to help him with his legal action against Rugby Australia, Israel and his supporters have come under intense scrutiny in the media.
Further, Israel’s website has been the target of what we believe was a sustained cyberattack and there has been a deliberate attempt to vilify his wife Maria for supporting her husband.
While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants it known that these attacks have hardened his resolve.
Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interesting in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case.
Folau wanted money to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia, which terminated his $4million contract in May.
He has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission and is seeking up to $10million in damages.
Folau was sacked for posting a meme on Instagram stating that hell awaited ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters’ unless they repented.
A spokesman for Folau said the decision to cancel the GoFundMe campaign was very disappointing.
The campaign was in line with GoFundMe’s terms and conditions, as well as all relevant rules and regulations, the spokesman said in a statement on Monday.
‘Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause.
‘There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters,’ the spokesman said.
Since launching the appeal, Folau and his supporters have come under ‘intense scrutiny in the media’, the spokesman said.
It’s believed Folau’s website was the target of a ‘sustained cyber attack’ and there has been a ‘deliberate attempt to vilify’ his wife Maria – who re-posted her husband’s online campaign – for supporting Folau.
These attacks have ‘hardened his resolve’, the spokesman said.
‘Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel’s efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case.’
‘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