GoFundMe takes down Folau’s campaign, will refund donations

GoFundMe has taken a stand against Israel Folau, shutting down his campaign over a breach of their conditions. The question is, of course, what took so long?



Sanity may have finally prevailed in the case of Israel Folau’s panhandling, as GoFundMe has taken his campaign down it from their website, saying that the campaign fundamentally breached their 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,” said Nicola Britton, GoFundMe’s Australia Regional Manager in conversation with News.com.au.

According to the fine print, users cannot raise funds, “for the legal defence of … intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases”.

The timing of the decision elevates a series of questions. While the almost $760,000 will be returned to those who opened their wallets, Folau’s campaign was created on June 18. Britton, the aforesaid Regional Manager said that “…as a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity. While we welcome GoFundMe engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”

Which are powerful words indeed. But you could say that a week of headline type, emboldened by quieter, far numerous complaint on social media pushed them to enforce their own conditions.

In the same statement, Britton redoubled on the empathy that powers GoFundMe, noting that “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.”

They may point to their heart, but the beating is a week late. Public relations spin doesn’t do it for me, nor should it sate anyone else.

Questions remain. Who allowed it, who supported it, and why did it take so long to make the decision?


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