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Folau saga proves GoFundMe needs greater scrutiny - experts

Newshub logoNewshub 24/06/2019 Katie Fitzgerald, Miriam Harris
a man holding a yellow ball: Israel Folau has hit out at GoFundMe after they pulled his page. © Image - AAP; Video - Newshub. Israel Folau has hit out at GoFundMe after they pulled his page.

GoFundMe's system of approving fundraisers needs a shake up in the wake of Israel Folau's aborted attempt to use the platform, experts say.

The former Rugby Australia star used the platform to try and raise A$3 million (NZ$3.1 million) for a legal fight with his former bosses after his contract was torn up.


But the league and union player was fired for multiple homophobic posts on social media, and already owns millions of dollars worth of property, attracting widespread derision for the cash grab.

"This isn't helping a person who's in a bad place, this is helping a multi-millionaire become a multi-multi-millionaire," fundraising consultant John Bergin told Newshub.

Folau's fundraiser was removed from GoFundMe on Monday after it was revealed the page breached GoFundMe's terms and conditions.

But Bergin says it should not have taken that long to be removed.

"Unquestionably I think there needs to be a greater filtering process when it comes to establishing a page in the first place, rather than waiting for the publicity."

Barrister Craig Tuck agreed and suggested regulation could be introduced.

"I guess we need to think carefully as a society the extent of regulation or freedom that should involve."

Tuck said people were crowdfunding pages for publicity and there aren't enough checks and balances on who uses fundraisers.

"It's allowing people to have a voice and a platform to say whatever they like, including those that might be of the Nazi persuasion or others."

The Australian Christian Lobby has kicked off the re-launch of Folau's campaign with a $100,000 donation.

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