Rugby star Israel Folau will be fired after making anti-LGBTQ comments on social media.
The 30-year-old pro sportsman, who is the highest paid rugby player in Australia, caused outrage last year when he claimed that God’s plan for gay people was “hell” in a deleted Instagram comment, and now he’s back at it again.
In a graphic shared on Instagram on Wednesday (10 April), Israel warned his followers that “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters” will “end up in hell” and that “only Jesus” can save them.
“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 wrote alongside the post.
He also shared offensive remarks on Twitter, claiming that “the devil has blinded so many people in this world” in response to an article about Tasmania allowing people 16 years and older to legally change their gender without parental consent.
Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby Union have issued a statement in response to Israel’s anti-LGBTQ comments, confirming that unless there are “compelling mitigating factors” the rugby pro will be fired.
“[We] have made repeated attempts to contact Israel both directly and via his representatives since 6.30pm on Wednesday, and at this point he has failed to communicate directly with either organisation,” they wrote.
“Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.
“Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.
“Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. 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.
“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 the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”