Israel Folau, whose contract was terminated by Rugby Australia earlier this year following a series of public statements denouncing homosexuality, has reportedly reached a settlement with the sport’s governing body. The details of the settlement will not be made public, but Folau had sought $14 million citing wrongful termination and arguing that “no Australian of any faith should be fired for practising religion.”
Folau has described homosexuality as a “sin” and is fond of quoting biblical passages to support his anti-gay views. In April, in response to news that the Tasmanian Parliament had passed a bill allowing people to change their gender on their birth certificate, Folau wrote on Twitter that “The devil has blinded so many people in this world. Repent and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free.”
He also posted the following on his Instagram account: “WARNING Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES.”
His contract was terminated shortly thereafter, and the legal dispute commenced.
A joint statement announcing the settlement says that “Mr Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality and that he shares Rugby Australia’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.”
In the same statement, Rugby Australia issued an apology to Folau:
“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus. Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.”
Last month Folau found himself in hot water again after decrying abortion and gay marriage, and suggesting that the bushfire crisis was an act of God, presumably in retribution for these supposed sins.
“Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, have come in a short period of time,” he said. “Do you think it’s a coincidence or not? God is speaking to you guys.”