Israel Folau reportedly has no regrets about saying ‘hell awaits’ gay people and ‘absolutely’ would say it again
Fallen Australian rugby player Israel Folau has reportedly admitted that he knew saying “hell awaits” gay people would be “offensive” but “absolutely” would repeat it.
Folau, 30, saw his contract with his team torn up and himself plunged into a storm after he made the controversial comments via his personal Instagram account earlier this year.
The former Rugby Australia star was a headline speaker at the national conference of the conservative Australian Christian Lobby when he touched upon the comments that effectively ended his career.
“I knew it was going to be offensive to a lot of people,” he said, in comments reported by multiple media outlets.
He said he would “absolutely” do it again, adding his conversion to being a born-again Christian had led to his change in social media use.
Folau has made a number of anti-LGBT+ comments in recent years.
The devout Christian, who has played rugby leagues and AFL at the highest level, is currently locked in a legal battle with Rugby Australia, the governing body that sacked him.
Administrators cut ties with him for breaching his $4 million contract following months of heated derogatory comments from the player over the years.
In 2017, he caused controversy when he said that he opposed marriage equality and would be voting ‘No’ in Australia’s postal vote on the issue.
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Last year, he said that gay people would go to hell “unless they repent of their sins” on Instagram. He received a warning for his comments but was not fired.
However, Folau doubled down on his anti-LGBT+ comments in April 2019 when he shared a meme on Instagram that warned that gay people would go to hell.
He was subsequently fired in May of this year over his anti-LGBT+ comments. He has since filed an unfair dismissal lawsuit against Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs and is seeking $10 million in compensation.
Folau even launched a $3 million crowd-funder to cover the piling legal costs of the federal court battle, that GoFundMe later took down.
Moreover Folau has allegedly maintained close ties to the Christian organisation, stepping in to host an appeal and reportedly raising more than $2 million within 48 hours.
In turn, Folau and his wife Maria have helped promote the ACL’s national conference dubbed Not Ashamed.
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