Israel Folau had planned to take down his anti-LGBTI social media post and reach a peace deal with Rugby Australia until his dad dissuaded him from doing so, according to a recent report.
Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia was terminated last month following a code of conduct hearing, which ruled that his four-year contract should be severed as a result of his anti-LGBTI social media posts.
In April, Folau posted on Twitter that Tasmania’s legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people were a sign that people should “repent and turn away from your evil ways”, before posting an image on Instagram which stated that “hell awaits” gay people.
The posts—in particular the Instagram post, which referenced a Bible passage that warned “homosexuals” would go to hell unless they repented—drew widespread backlash, prompting a drawn-out tussle between Folau and Rugby Australia which culminated in his sacking.
However, according to a News Corp Australia report, Folau was ready to take down the Instagram post in an effort to hold on to his contract, until he phoned his father Eni Folau, a Christian pastor.
According to the report, Eni Folau said his son would be disowning the words of God if he removed the post, telling him “you’ll go to hell, son”.
Folau refused to take down the post, prompting Rugby Australia to terminate his contract after claiming the post did not align with the organisation’s values.
Late last week, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz called for an investigation into the recent termination of Israel Folau’s rugby contract, saying that the “vast bulk” of Australians thought it was “completely unacceptable”.
“The fundamental point of the need to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion is in the DNA of every true Liberal and that is why I am seeking to pursue it,” he told The Examiner.