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Australia's Highest Paid Rugby Player to be Fired for Anti-LGBTQ+ Post

Israel Folau

Rugby Australia and the North South Wales Rugby Union announced on Wednesday that Israel Folau would be terminated from the league. The decision follows Folau’s anti-LGBTQ+ posts on Twitter and Instagram.

On Wednesday, Folau posted a graphic to Instagram. “Warning” it read over a listing that included “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators” and more. “Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.” Folau captioned the image with “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.” He finished the caption with three quotes from the Bible’s Old Testament.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

 

Shortly after, on Twitter, the rugby star, who is reportedly the highest paid player in Australia, responded to legislation that passed Wednesday, making it easier for trans citizens of Tasmania to update their identification documents. “The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways,” the evangelical Christian wrote alongside a screenshot of a news report about the legislation. And the posts, which have been labeled both homophobic and transphobic, have warranted quite the response.

 

 

 

 

Joe Marler, a rugby player in England responded by tweeting imagery of men kissing to Folau in two well received posts. One, got over 14,000 likes. But Folau's employers also responded.

“Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people,” Rugby Australia and the North South Wales Rugby Union said in a press release. “We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.” According to the press release, both organizations had been trying repeatedly to reach the athlete and his representatives, to no avail.

As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.” In 2018, there was another incident where Folau said, in a now deleted post that God’s plan for gay people was “HELL … Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.” At the time, Rugby Australia imposed no sanctions. This latest occurrence seems to be different.

"In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract,” the release said.

RELATED | Tasmania Has Made Historic Changes to Laws for Trans Rights

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