According to Israel Folau, he’s in ‘the fight of his life’ and according to the figures, $1.7 million in new donations would suggests that so too is the Australian public.
But whilst Folau originally set out to fund his legal battles against Rugby Aus, his plea for cash has fast transformed into a national battle for religious freedom.
After the Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director, Martyn Iles tweeted they’d be backing Folau, donations reached the $400,000 mark in just under 12 hours. Four days after it’s launch, it’s now accrued close to $2 million, and most people are saying the influx in donations are from people revelling in bitterness about GoFundMe pulling the page (of which the charity’s watchdog are receiving mass complaints over).
ACL have also pledged to donate $100,000 to the cause, on top of existing donations. The campaign now represents a fight for freedom, expression and religion.
So, been chatting with @IzzyFolau and we fixed it… https://t.co/FZ1UkcZa4n #standwithizzy
— Martyn Iles (@MartynLloydIles) June 24, 2019
This is a peaceful uprising of quiet Australians. A voice that cannot be ignored. One man’s conviction is what it took – thank you @IzzyFolau pic.twitter.com/Zyf80niN1z
— Martyn Iles (@MartynLloydIles) June 25, 2019
The ACL Won’t Say Where The Excess Money Will Go
In an interview with Today Show presenter Deborah Knight this morning, Iles remains pretty shady about where the excess donations will be channelled into. With such a rapid and steady inflow of funds already, there’s little doubt the increased goal of $3 million will soon be reached. So beyond that, people are wondering where the cash is gonna go.
Asked where the excess in donations will go, Iles remained shady, disclosing almost no specific details. He said he ‘would not go into any detail’ about where the extra $3 million will go.
“It will be distributed in a way that is consistent with …”
Knight interrupts: “Distributed where though?”
“It will go to different causes that are completely consistent with the intentions of the original donors,” Iles replied.
Reports and common sense would suggest that Folau’s legal costs won’t even reach anywhere near $3 million, and it looks like the campaign is fast becoming a charity case that’s extended far beyond its original purpose.
How can you justify asking for $3 million for:
a) a legal bill that will likely be less than 10% of that; and
b) a guy worth, conservatively, $6 million?
— ?Katherine of Tarragon (@katticus28) June 24, 2019
The haters and homophobes have been waiting since the YES vote for a trigger to set off a “religious freedoms” campaign as revenge. #Folau’s contractual dispute gives them that trigger and a rallying point for bigotry dressed up as concern for “religious freedom”.
— ?Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) June 25, 2019
Folau has since taken to Twitter to publicly thank the ACL, and those who donated, for supporting him.
I am incredibly thankful for the Australian Christian Lobby, which has not only come to my defence in the media, but generously established a website to receive donations on my behalf.https://t.co/1a8AgesY0f
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) June 25, 2019
View this post on Instagram
I am humbled by the support I have received from so many of you since Rugby Australia terminated my employment contract after I shared a religious message on social media. To those who have criticised me, I bear no ill will towards you. You have every right to express your own beliefs and opinions. To the thousands of you who donated to my GoFundMe campaign, I am forever grateful. GoFundMe’s decision to shut down my campaign proves the importance of my case; whether you share my faith or believe in my right to express it, attempts to sanction what we believe is a threat to all Australians. I am incredibly thankful for the Australian Christian Lobby, which has not only come to my defence in the media, but generously established a website to receive donations on my behalf. For those not in a position to donate, your support and prayers will make more of a difference than anything else. God bless!
But it also looks like a fair few of us are publicly broadcasting our intolerance for everything this saga represents.
— anyone you’re following (@HarsherFails) June 24, 2019
Sources: IzzyFolau Instagram, Twitter, @katticus28, @MartynLloydIles, @drkerrynphelp, @HarsherFails.