Israel Folau's crowdfunding page shut down, money to be refunded

Israel Folau has had his crowdfunding page shut down Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Israel Folau's crowdfunding page has been shut down by website operator GoFundMe.

Folau's page had attracted in excess of $[Aus]650,000 since it was launched late on Thursday night [AEST]

But it had also attracted huge backlash on social media, with people adamant Folau's page was in breach of GoFundMe's guidelines which promote inclusivity.

And that was proved correct on Monday morning when links to Folau's page directed to "campaign not found," with GoFundMe Regional Australia Director Nicola Britton issuing a statement a short time later.

"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," Britton said.

"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.

"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.

"Our platform exists to help people help others. Australians have shown themselves to be among the most kind and generous people in the world. We look forward to helping more Australians fundraiser for causes they care about in the coming months and years."

Folau's camp hit back on Monday afternoon, releasing a statement saying GoFundMe's decision was part of continued campaign of "discrimination" against the 30-year-old and his supporters.

"The decision of GoFundMe to cancel Israel's fundraising campaign to support his Legal Action Fund is very disappointing," the statement read.

"The fundraising campaign was in line with GoFundMe's terms and conditions as well as all relevant rules and regulations.

"Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause.

"There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel and his supporters.

"Israel Folau is very grateful to the 10,000-plus supporters who believed in good faith that their donations would contribute to his case against Rugby Australia."

Folau had set up the page to help cover the "legal costs" associated with his case against Rugby Australia and the governing body's decision to terminate his contract.

The former Wallabies fullback was deemed to have made a high-level breach of the Code of Conduct for comments that condemned homosexuals, fornicators and drunks, among others, to hell, a ruling Folau is challenging through the Fair Work Commission of Australia.

But Folau's page also included a disclaimer that said any funds donated did not have to be used for legal costs and that he was not expected to perform any service in return.

Rugby Australia and Folau had been ordered into mediation by the Fair Work Commission before the code-hopper launched his crowdfunding page last week.