Australian rugby star Israel Folau has filed a lawsuit after having his multi-million dollar contract terminated because he shared a Bible verse on Instagram.
In a case lodged with Australia’s Fair Workplace Commission, an industrial relations tribunal, Folau is reported to be seeking “substantial remedies” for his highly-publicized firing.
“Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us,” Folau said in a statement, according to the BBC.
“The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded.”
Folau added that “no Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion.”
As a result of his Biblical declaration, Folau not only lost his job but was also stripped of key sponsorships with companies such as Landrover and Asics.
“Accordingly, Mr Folau is seeking substantial remedies from his former employers should they be found to have breached the Fair Work Act in terminating his employment,” read Israel’s suit.
What did Folau’s Instagram post actually say?
The post, which is still live on Folau’s page, declares “WARNING,” before listing a number of sins which must be repented of, pending eternal judgment.
Referencing 1 Corinthians 6:9, the graphic lists “Drunks, homosexuals, drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters,” before imploring “HELL AWAITS YOU,” and “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES.”
You can see the original post below:
Despite being a firm pick for this year’s Rugby World Cup, the action taken by Rugby Australia means he will not represent his country at the prestigious international event.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Folau will now seek up to $10 million in damages.
In related news, Israel’s brother John, who is also a professional rugby player, was recently granted some time off from playing with the
Waratahs, with the head coach saying that the 24-year-old had been
“in a difficult position for the last while,”
“He has got really divided loyalties to his family and his brother and then also to the team,” said coach Daryl Gibson. “He wanted to stress how much he enjoyed being with the team and what a difficult decision it was for him.”