Sacked Wallabies player and former Star Observer cover boy Israel Folau has blocked this publication on social media.
The former footballer, whose Rugby Australia contract was torn up over homophobic comments, has blocked the Star Observer on Twitter following our reports on his ongoing anti-gay comments.
The Star Observer is unsure exactly when Folau blocked the magazine —but any attempt by us to view his Twitter profile now meets with the following message: “You’re blocked. You can’t follow or see @IzzyFolau’s Tweets.”
The unemployed rugby player, who now posits himself as God’s spokesperson on homosexuality, famously appeared on the cover of the Star Observer in 2014 with fellow Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper alongside the cover line “Big Boys And Their Balls”.
The cover appearance was part of an initiative to tackle homophobia in sport, and also served as promotion for the Bingham Cup, the biennial international gay rugby tournament held in Sydney that year.
Folau, who has since made several anti-gay outbursts on social media and in sermons at the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney, has invoked this publication’s name a number of times to insist that despite his comments, he is not homophobic.
Speaking to Athlete’s Voice last year, he maintained: “It has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people. This could not be further from the truth.
“I 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. I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone.”
Star Observer publisher Lawrence Gibbons this afternoon expressed sadness at the apparent end of our relationship with Folau.
“We had all been waiting for another encounter with Izzy—or Izzn’t he?—and his big balls,” said Gibbons.
“Obviously that’s not going to happen now. Was it something we said? Did we drop the ball in our coverage?”
He added: “Don’t worry, Izzy, there are no hard feelings here. Pun intended.”
News of Folau’s obvious displeasure with the Star comes two days after he increased the compensation claim in his court case against Rugby Australia for alleged wrongful termination by a cool $4 million.
Previously, Folau had been claiming loss of earnings of $10 million after Rugby Australia tore up his contract.
On Tuesday, he increased his compensation claim to $14 million, claiming that he had been on track to be captain of the Wallabies and that his lost earnings were, therefore, even higher than previously stated.
The case, which is being heard in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, continues.