‘What has been achieved?’ Aly on Folau

 

WALEED Aly has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Israel Folau, questioning "what exactly has been achieved" by GoFundMe getting rid of the controversial sport star's fundraising page.

On Monday Folau's crowd-funding campaign was removed from the website, with GoFundMe's Australia regional manager Nicola Britton claiming it "violates our terms of service".

The former Wallaby had asked the public to donate $3 million to fund his fight against Rugby Australia, which had terminated his contract in May after he shared a post on Instagram claiming "hell awaits" homosexuals.

Discussing the controversy on Monday's episode of The Project, panellist Steve Price said he had never seen "an issue that has so divided the country".

Steve Price said he had never seen such a divisive issue.
Steve Price said he had never seen such a divisive issue.


"You're either in the free speech or you're in the Israel Folau has done the wrong thing against his employer and the contract (camp), and I just think it has split the country down the middle," Price said.

But Aly argued that whether or not people were in "different camps" GoFundMe's decision would have far-reaching implications.

"Forget about the camps and just step back, whatever your view is. So now this page has been taken down, what exactly has been achieved?" Aly said.

"He'll still raise the funds, he'll raise probably more … I feel like everyone is trying to win every little skirmish in the battle rather than letting it play out.

Waleed Aly questioned whether GoFundMe’s move would have unintended consequences.
Waleed Aly questioned whether GoFundMe’s move would have unintended consequences.

"He will go off to court, and he'll end up in court, and there will be a resolution to this that way. I'm just not sure what either side thinks this is achieving."

Comedian Peter Helliar argued that GoFundMe's decision had wanted to show the organisation didn't support Folau's views.

Since removing Folau's campaign GoFundMe has featured the rainbow flag on each of its social media accounts.

"This is about Go Fund Me being a private enterprise and putting their flag in the sand and saying this is where we stand," he said.

But Price, disagreed, arguing that "if you went through every GoFundMe cause that's been up there for years, however long they've been running, I'm sure you could find plenty that you'd think were unacceptable".

Israel Folau has had his GoFundMe page pulled on Monday.
Israel Folau has had his GoFundMe page pulled on Monday.

"It's the number of sets of eyes being on this particular one and obviously GoFundMe felt the heat," Lisa Wilkinson added.

Aly theorised that "there might be more eyes on (Folau's cause) now".

"But that's the paradox of these things," he said.

GoFundMe shut down Folau's campaign after it had managed to raise $760,000 of its $3 million goal but had attracted plenty of detractors.

Much of the criticism focused on Folau's multimillion-dollar contracts playing in NRL, AFL and rugby union as well as his extensive property portfolio.

In a statement following GoFundMe's decision Israel Folau's team have claimed other organisations had "expressed interest" in helping him raise money.

"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," the sacked Wallaby's member said in a statement this afternoon.

"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."


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