Israel Folau’s new fundraising campaign has raised more money than his GoFundMe page in a day, with more than $1 million flooding in from donors.
The sacked Wallabies star had pledges totalling $1.5 million at 11.00pm on Tuesday after hundreds of donors emptied their pockets to help fund his legal fight against Rugby Australia.
On a relaunched campaign facilitated by the Australian Christian Lobby, Folau’s total edged past $765,000, or about what he accumulated through his GoFundMe page, within 14 hours.
The GoFundMe campaign was an exercise former Wallaby teammate Drew Mitchell labelled “greedy” before the American company cancelled the page and issued refunds because Folau’s cause violated their terms and conditions.
It didn’t take long for the Australian Christian Lobby to get involved and support the multimillionaire, who has pleaded for the public to fund his legal stoush with Rugby Australia after the code’s governing body sacked him for a “high-level breach” of the professional players’ code of conduct.
Folau posted a photo on Instagram on April 10 that said homosexuals were destined for hell unless they repented their sins.
Legal experts have expressed their bewilderment at why Folau wanted $3 million from his GoFundMe page when his fees won’t come close to that figure.
In the 14 hours the page has been live, Folau has been making close to $60,000 an hour.
Throughout the morning when Australians began waking up, donations came in at more than $1000 a minute.
“Recently, the online fundraising platform GoFundMe shut down Israel Folau’s legal defence fund and turned away hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations,” ACL managing director Martyn Iles said on the website.
“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.
“So, please give generously today to help Israel Folau stand for your religious freedom.”