GoFundMe’s Folau Ban Backfires Spectacularly

“If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech” – Noam Chomsky

I might disagree with Israel Folau, but Blair Cottrell is someone whose views I do mostly despise. Unlike most of the media’s targets, Cottrell genuinely merits the label “far-right nationalist”. He possibly genuinely merits the moniker of “neo-Nazi”. He’s also being steadily un-personed by our corporate overlords.

Sharing a photo of the letter he received from Westpac Banking Corporation…”They’re closing my bank accounts now too and won’t even tell me why,” he said.

Convinced the bank’s move was intended to distance itself from his controversial views, Cottrell pointed out that he’s not the first to be de-platformed by a major bank for personal views or reputation.

A Newspaper

Sure, it’s easy to ignore or even celebrate Cottrell’s banning, but that’s the first hypocritical step on the road to serfdom. First they came for the far-right nationalists…

“GoFundMe bends a knee to the LBG mob and joins the pack attack on Folau.”

GoFundMe’s Australian manager Nicola Britton released a statement saying “after a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service”.

…Then they came for the Christians…

Israel Folau’s GoFundMe appeal to raise funds for a legal challenge to his sacking by Rugby Australia has been summarily shut down by the corporation, purely on a whim. Unable to cite any specific violation of their terms of service, GoFundMe resorted to their nebulous weasel-clause: “we deem, in our sole discretion”. To add insult to injury, GoFundMe then treated us to a stunningly Orwellian example of duplicitious corporate-speak.

Britton said GoFundMe was committed to the “fight for equality” for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity.

“While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion,” she said.

So which is it? Because right now, we obviously can’t have both, especially not in the boardrooms of gigantic tech companies who rigorously exclude everyone who doesn’t kowtow to their ‘rainbow’ virtue-signalling. You certainly don’t have to agree with Folau’s sentiments to acknowledge that he at least has been entirely civil – unlike most of his detractors.

But if raising money for a legal defence of Christian belief is verboten at GoFundMe, what’s allowed? An accused hacker trying to buy a Ferrari to cope with “anxiety”; a Greens senator suing one of her parliamentary colleagues, a transsexual nurse wanting “vocal feminisation surgery” to sound like a woman.

The good news from all this is that, the harder and more brutally corporations try to stamp out dissenting voices, the more people are creating their own solutions.

The Australian Christian Lobby has launched a new fundraising website for Israel Folau after GoFundMe banned the Christian rugby star using the crowdfunding platform to fund his legal battle with Rugby Australia…

Martyn Iles, the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, has stepped in and is hosting an online appeal for funds from its own website.

“On behalf of the Australian Christian Lobby, I have spoken to Israel Folau to let him know that ACL will be donating $100,000 to his legal defence, because it’s right and it sets an important legal precedent,’’ Mr Iles said.

“I have also offered to host his online appeal for funds here on our website and he has accepted our offer. All gifts you give on this web page will be deposited into a trust account to pay for Israel Folau’s legal case.’’

As of 10am this morning, the site had raised nearly $400,000.


By the end of the day, donations were closing in on a million. This is the beauty of freedom and capitalist innovation in action.