Israel Folau’s latest homophobic and transphobic comments have been labelled “really disappointing” by Rugby Australia’s major sponsor Qantas.

Folau landed in hot water overnight for new social media posts which have been labelled homophobic and transphobic.

On his Instagram page, Folau posted a screenshot of a meme which listed various groups, including “homosexuals, adulteres, liars, fornicators, thieves”, bearing the words, “WARNING: HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT. ONLY JESUS SAVES”.

Folau captioned the image with a series of Bible verses and the words, “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

On his Twitter page, in his first post since November 2018, Folau tweeted a screenshot of a story about Tasmania’s just-passed legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people alongside the words, “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.”

Folau, who once appeared on the Star Observer‘s cover in a story about ending homophobia in sport, first generated controversy by tweeting his opposition to same-sex marriage during the postal survey.

In April last year, he doubled down by posting a comment on an Instagram post saying that “hell” is god’s plan for gay people.

This kicked off a chain reaction, beginning with Qantas threatening to drop their Wallabies sponsorship, though they never did.

Rugby Australia also decided not to sanction Folau over the comments, which rugby star David Pocock later said “could really harm young people.”

A Qantas spokesperson said Folau’s latest posts “are really disappointing and clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support.”

“We’re pleased to see Rugby Australia’s condemnation of the comments and will await the outcome of their review.”

Qantas are currently in the process of re-negotiating their sponsorship deal with Rugby Australia, which is due to expire this year.

“The content within the post is unacceptable,” Rugby Australia said in a statement, apparently ignoring Folau’s anti-trans Twitter post.

“It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community. The Rugby Australia integrity unit has been engaged on the matter tonight.”

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that other high-level rugby players have also liked the post, including Samu Kerevi and Allan Alaalatoa.

In an interview in the wake of the controversy last year, Folau insisted he does not “have any phobia towards anyone”, referencing that he had “fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women.”

 

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Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

The Australian Christian Lobby released a statement in solidarity with Folau.

“Israel Folau has quoted a paraphrase of the Bible, which is believed by millions of Australians who profess Christian faith and attend churches regularly,” said the ACL’s managing director, Martyn Iles.

“To censor Israel Folau is to censor millions of Australians who believe that sin is real, hell is real, and salvation in Jesus Christ is the equal answer for all, regardless of our identity or background.”

Pride Cup co-founder and former Aussie Rules footballer Jason Ball slammed Folau’s posts.

“Comments like this are the reason I hid my sexuality from my teammates for years,” Ball tweeted.

“A sports star like Folau telling young people that they’ll go to hell for being gay is not just ignorant, it’s downright dangerous.”

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