Folau donors plan to keep giving to canned campaign
SUPPORTERS of Israel Folau's GoFundMe page say they're disappointed but not surprised the page was taken down, vowing to throw in more money if the fund is set up elsewhere.
An unemployed Sydney mum-of-three, who wished to remain anonymous, told news.com.au she would be donating even more money when the legal fund was inevitably recreated.
The 36-year-old said she has not been out in the past six months because her family does not have the money and described her $100 GoFundMe donation as "beyond stupid".
"I'll be honest with you, I'm relieved the money came back but it's likely the campaign will be started again somewhere else and when it is, I will make the same donation. It feels crazy to say but I think I'll give more if I can," she said.
The Sydney mum plans to donate between $120 to $140 when the campaign kicks off again.
"It feels silly saying that because it's a lot and I don't have that money to send," she said.
The woman said she strongly believes the footballer has been misunderstood and said his cultural background had also played a part in the abruptness of the post.
"From my perspective, I see that Israel Folau has been incredibly misunderstood … The amount of money raised demonstrates that modern society seriously misunderstands faith," she said.
The woman, an evangelical Christian, said she "never in a million years" would've posted what he did.
"It comes across wrong and many people would misunderstand it - which they did," she said.
She said the Israel Folau saga proved Aussies needed to "learn how to talk to each other".
"In Australian society, people need to learn how to talk to each other and understand that it isn't always a personal attack," she said.
"If someone has a different belief it doesn't always mean they hate them. It's entirely possible to disapprove of someone's lifestyle or choices and still love them … I genuinely believe it's the same way a parent feels when their child misbehaves or does something bad. You still love them regardless."
The mum-of-three, who returned to university last year to improve her chances of getting a job, said she often worried about applying for jobs due to her former employment at Christian organisations.
"The next time I apply for a job, I do not want prospective employers looking at my CV and noticing my past employment involved these Christian organisations and deciding they do not want me to work for them on the basis of this past employment with organisations that held/hold what contemporary society considers to be outdated and bigoted views," she said.
"However, sadly, I think this is a very real possibility in contemporary Australia."
Another donor, who also wished to remain anonymous, described GoFundMe's decision a "coward move".
"It's incredibly pathetic that GoFundMe has folded to the public pressure and outcry to protect themselves and just goes to show what society we live in where people can't pursue a certain view without being scrutinised by the leftists/extremists," he said.
The man, who donated $250 to the fund, said GoFundMe had bowed to public pressure.
"(GoFundMe) initially allowed Israel to obtain funds but only after public backlash they reverted. Which is a coward move," he said.
A $50 donor said he was disappointed the page had been removed.
"Can you see the hatred and violence we are bringing upon each other? (My donation) was sacrificial in my current situation," he said.
In a statement earlier today, GoFundMe said it was issuing refunds to all Folau's donors, saying the campaign breached its terms of service.
"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," GoFundMe's Australia regional manager Nicola Britton said.
"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."