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Disgraced rugby star Israel Folau faces discrimination complaint after blaming gay marriage for bushfires

Nick Duffy December 13, 2019
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Israel Folau of the Wallabies

Israel Folau (Matt King/Getty Images)

Disgraced rugby star Israel Folau is facing an anti-discrimination complaint over his anti-LGBT comments.

The former Wallabies player was sacked by Rugby Australia after warning gay people that “hell awaits” them on social media, and has since doubled down on his anti-LGBT beliefs, blaming the devil for transgender children and claiming that bushfires devastating Australia are “God’s judgment” for same-sex marriage.

The player received an undisclosed settlement and an apology from Rugby Australia earlier this month after taking legal action against his ex-employer.

However, Folau’s troubles are not yet over.

Activist files discrimination complaint against Israel Folau

The Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales confirmed on Friday that it had accepted a complaint against Folau, filed by LGBT+ campaigner Garry Burns.

The complaint argues: “By publishing those statements… Mr Folau has portrayed homosexual men and women as people who should be shunned and/or avoided on the grounds of their homosexuality and by doing so, has breached the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.”

It alleges that Folau’s comments are “objectively capable of incitement of contempt and or hatred of homosexual persons on the ground of their homosexuality.”

Israel Folau of the Wallabies (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

According to LOTL, Burns said that Folau’s anti-LGBT comments are “capable of having a dire effect on teens who may suffer from low self esteem issues.”

The activist has previously had success taking on other public figures over incitement of anti-LGBT hatred.

If there is no resolution between the parties, the case could be referred to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a legal decision, according to Associated Press.

Israel Folau ‘did not intend to offend people’, legal settlement claims

The development comes after Rugby Australia apologised to Folau for “harm caused” as it reached a legal settlement with him.

However, the rugby star opted to only apologise for harm “to the game of rugby” without addressing the impact of his comments on young LGBT+ people.

Their joint statement said: “”While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus. Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.”

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