REALLY? Multi-millionaire rugby star Israel Folau set up a GoFundMe page to pay for his legal costs. It raised $750,000 before the page was taken down.
REALLY? Multi-millionaire rugby star Israel Folau set up a GoFundMe page to pay for his legal costs. It raised $750,000 before the page was taken down. Nev Madsen

OPINION: Silver lining to Folau's GoFundMe folly

AT FIRST, I gave this whole saga about Israel Folau a passing nod.

I really didn't understand the big deal - if you don't agree with it then don't donate. Simple.

However, monitoring the public's reaction I now see the issue has roots a whole lot deeper than that, and to be honest, it's given me hope.

Let's put aside the offensive comments that got him into this mess in the first place because for me, they've almost become a separate issue.

The issue of his GoFundMe campaign which was pulled on Monday morning, costing Folau more than $750,000 in donations, is the headline that's dominating my news feeds.

In a nutshell, most people are outraged at the formerly well-paid union player's arrogance thinking his cause deserved financial aid over that of struggling Aussies.

The crowdfunding platform has a reputation for funding medical support for struggling families with sick or injured kids, helping individuals deliver social programs or conservation aid, helping dying or sick pets, funding small business launches and, yes, you'll get the odd "help fund my holiday to Europe” campaign.

Australia's willingness to help someone in genuine need is what's being undermined by Folau's campaign.

It's a bizarre online battle that seems completely upside down - a millionaire asking for donations from middle-class citizens?

What's even more confusing is that people actually donated to it.

So where in this mess do I find hope?

Well, in a world where vandals are setting fire to strangers' boats, cars are getting stolen regularly and unimaginable acts of horror are happening on our roads, it's good to see an even larger majority of the Australian public still have their heads screwed on right.

The public outrage against Folau's funding ethics far outweighed those who supported it.

The reaction from big companies such as GoFundMe's decision to pull his campaign showcased a brave political move that stood up for those discriminated against in Folau's social media posts, which were more than just the LGBT+ community.

As the $750,000 from Folau's campaign makes its way back into the bank accounts of those who donated, I encourage all those who disagreed with them (because I know there's a lot of you) to fund a campaign you do find worthy.

- Annie Caughey