Former rugby player Israel Folau (screen capture via GoFundMe)
Homophobic Australian rugby player Israel Folau has filed a $10 million lawsuit to the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia alleging he was sacked for his Christian beliefs.
Not only is the former Wallabies player demanding his job back, but 30-year-old also wants $10 million in compensation.
The Guardian reports Folau issued a statement regarding the lawsuit which read, in part, “No Australian of any faith should be fired for practicing their religion.”
But Rugby Australia maintains that it was Folau’s breach of the players’ code of conduct via his anti-LGBTQ social media posts that caused his dismissal, not “practicing his religion.”
The code of conduct requires players to “treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability.”
This is what Folau characterizes as “practicing” his religion:
“Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport,” said Rugby Australia at the time. “We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.”
In June, Folau launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for his anticipated legal fees. But GoFundMe canceled that effort saying, “While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”
But the Australian Christian Lobby, an extreme religious group, jumped in and helped Folau raise over $2 million for his legal battles to come.
It’s worth noting that Folau is a millionaire several times over. According to TheAustralian.com, he owns 8 homes worth over $5 million and a $500k Lamborghini.
So, why does he need fans to pay his legal bills?
In April of 2018, Folau said he has “no phobia towards anyone” but would not recant his social media antics. At the time he told rugby officials he would “walk away from his contract” if he comments hurt his sport.
I guess $10 million sounds better to him today.