Free Speech, Politics, recent, Religion, Sport

The Uncertain Boundaries of Corporate Morality

A deeply unusual public spectacle has been playing out in Australia for a number of weeks involving a prominent rugby player, a mangled bible verse, the rugby player’s wife, a crowdfunding platform, a major bank and a health insurance fund. All the elements of a terrible joke are present, yet the core of the matter—the messy intersection of legal freedom and corporate morality—is proving to be serious.

Rugby player Israel Folau, domestic and international superstar, allegedly breached his contract with Rugby Australia by posting an adaptation of a bible verse to Instagram which suggested unrepentant homosexuals would ultimately find themselves in hell, alongside liars, adulterers, persons with tattoos, and a variety of other sinners. As a consequence of his refusal to remove the post, Folau’s lucrative contract with Rugby Australia was terminated. The legality of this decision has yet to be decided in court. The case has attracted immense interest and is already being touted as a potential landmark for freedom of religion and religious expression in the domain of Australian employment law and—to a certain extent—Australian society at large. The chairman of Rugby Australia, Cameron Clyne, went so far as to suggest that failure to take legal action against Folau would result in litigation attempts by gay employees for “not providing a workplace that is safe or respectful.” Corporations can and do take protective measures in all manner of legal domains—the question that must be asked of Rugby Australia is whether commonly held religious beliefs have become an unacceptable threat to employee safety, and if so, what legal recourse should be provided by the Australian legal system to preserve this safety.

To assist him with his legal fees, Folau established a campaign on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. The campaign proved to be short-lived, with GoFundMe swiftly closing it due to an apparent breach of its terms of service, specifically those related to discrimination and inclusion. Perhaps Folau should have known better than to trust an unaccountable private platform such as GoFundMe—fortunately the Australian Christian Lobby volunteered to host a fundraising page for him instead, a successful move that ultimately netted over $2 million for his upcoming legal battle.

However, Folau’s dispute with Rugby Australia and ban from GoFundMe were only the most salient and public aspects of what is proving to be an incredibly complex situation. Far less attention has been given to three seemingly unrelated parties to the whole matter, these being Folau’s wife, Maria, The Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), and The Hospital Contributions Fund of Australia (HCF), a large health insurer. Maria Folau is a superstar athlete in her own right, playing international netball for New Zealand’s Silver Ferns and the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia’s domestic Super Netball league. Maria—in an act of support for her husband—posted a link to his GoFundMe page before it was taken down. ANZ, in their capacity as sponsors of the Silver Ferns, moved quickly to condemn Maria Folau’s support for her husband, stating, “We do not support the views of Silver Fern Maria Folau and have made our views known to her employer Netball NZ.” Likewise, HCF, who sponsor the Thunderbirds, offered their own condemnation, affirming that they “do not support Maria Folau’s stance” and that “there is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race, or sexual orientation.”

As you may have surmised from the above, Maria Folau does not currently have a contract with Rugby Australia, nor did she post anything of a biblical (or homophobic) nature to her own social media channels. Her only connection to the matter of Israel Folau’s legal fight and original social media post is the fact that she offered her husband her public support. Does that justify the wrath of two major sponsors directly involved in partnering with two separate administrative bodies controlling the sport in which she participates?

Corporations are increasingly prone to formulating explicit moral positions on issues of social importance and punishing those who fail to condone such positions to the extent that they are able to do so. The treatment of Israel Folau was predictable. However, the mechanisms by which his wife Maria has been roped into the controversy have provoked concern in their own right due to their seemingly arbitrary nature. ANZ and HCF took deliberate measures to contact the employers of Maria Folau in their corporate roles as netball sponsors, and by doing so are implying that a second-degree relation to an opinion that violates their corporate moral code exceeds the threshold they are willing to tolerate.

Corporate morality is complicated due to the various ways in which the actions and outcomes attributable to corporations are legally distinct from those of its employees. In a practical sense, a corporation is composed of employees, who may or may not hold moral views on any range of issues. When a corporation takes an explicit moral stance, their expressed view is extended (albeit weakly in many cases) to its employees—they become tacit participants in a moral position and its implications. The reverse is not true—corporations can and do restrict the acceptability of opinions employees may express in public. When certain moral opinions can be both legally permissible yet unacceptable by prevailing corporate standards, society reaches an uncomfortable impasse—how is it that Israel Folau can legally express his belief that homosexuals will go to hell and yet still lose his employment contract as a result?

Rugby Australia asserts that the grounds for Folau’s dismissal are a breach of his own contract, in which he agreed to limit his use of social media to certain content and subject matter. This claim may yet prove to be true—however, the diffusion of Folau’s transgression to encompass his wife remains a separate and troubling consideration that is yet to be resolved. The boundaries of corporate power in asserting and policing a code of moral acceptability in Australia, as elsewhere, remain to be fully understood.


Cameron Hendy is a political commentator living in Melbourne, Australia.

Featured Image from Wikicommons.


  1. Martin28 says

    Any departure from social justice ideology and theory is now swiftly punished by powerful institutions and even corporations. There is only one right worldview and morality and anyone who strays outside of the boundaries is excommunicated and branded as a hater. In practice this means that social justice theory is above criticism and dissent. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Oh, please. Western society has spent most of its existence living under a very rigid worldview that very often led to swift and cruel justice for dissidents. Trying questioning the church or the crown in centuries past and see how much leniency you were given. Humans have, literally, never been freer or more tolerant than we are today.

      A bunch of drama queens around here.

      • Joel says

        Yes, but that is being challenged now by a new equally rigid worldview being championed by left leaning ideologues and assisted by social media and other companies. Past crimes don’t excuse current ones either.

      • Gennady says

        @Nakatomi Plaza

        Yes they were. Like 5 or 10 years ago.

      • Brian Villanueva says

        @Nakatomi, whether man is freer today than he ever has been depends very much on your definition of “free”.

        It sounds like you subscribe to a Lockean or Roussean definition of freedom: “the right to do whatever the hell I want.” By the more ancient definition of Aristotle — “the ability to master your passions so that you may devote your life to pursuing what is good” — humans are far less free today.

        This definitional disparity provides much of the fodder for disputes over things like LGBT rights, prostitution, pornography, and drug policy. The libs (liberals/ libertarians/ libertines) see the rise of deviant behaviors as empowering based on Locke’s definition of freedom. Traditionalists see the same behaviors as slavery based on Aristotle’s (later extended by Paul, Augustine and Aquinas) definition.

        Philosophers have been trying to reconcile Aristotle and Locke for 300 years without success. It’s only in our generation that this deep philosophical dispute has erupted into political street warfare. As T.S. Elliot said, “ideas have consequences.” They may take a few centuries to play out, but play out they shall.

      • Bab says

        Nakatomi, I completely agree with you here. Rugby Australia is a private business. Israel Folau freely entered into a contract with them, which provided that they could sack him if he expressed public views that reflected badly upon them. The people who have paid into his legal fund are going to find that they have made a poor investment.

        I really have to marvel at the about-faced hypocrisy of some of the people here. Colin Kaepernick was effectively sacked for kneeling during the anthem, which no one here has a problem with; however condemning gay people to hell is a person’s sovereign right which has to be respected. People have said that sports and politics shouldnt be combined and that athletes should keep their trap shut if they want to keep playing sports. Well, which is it?

        • Adam Stoker says

          What about the proposition that his employment contract should not reach into his personal, and in particular religious, life? Contracts cannot, for example, ban a person from being part of a trade union. Why should his employee have power over his personal life?

          • Bab says

            They can’t ban someone from being a Christian either. But if I were a trade union supporting rugby star who announced that every non-union worker was a disgusting scab who was destined for hell, they’d probably give me the sack as well.

      • Rev. Wazoo! says

        Cool! I can be excused for my crimes today by the crimes of my ancestors, or even other people’s (and peoples’) ancestors! This is a very useful counterbalance to to me being punished for crimes committed centuries ago.

        It’s also facile and convenient: I can hold people I don’t like accountable for events centuries old and I can excuse people I do like for the same reason. Do you see how pushing merely tribalistic rationalization backfires?

        You really should consider ricochets before you pull a trigger for short-term advantage.

      • Mike says

        “Western society has spent most of its existence living under a very rigid worldview that very often led to swift and cruel justice for dissidents.”

        Yeah, and that has generally been considered a bad thing.

      • Defenstrator says

        As usual your reply betrays your own lack of thinking. The fact that society had a dogmatic moralist busy body is generally seen as a bad thing. You agree it was cruel. Now corporations come along to replace it and instead of recognizing s new oppressor you shrug it off. Based on your past replies I suspect it is because you agree with them and thus are happy to see a new authoritarian hegemony, as long as it supports your world view.

    • Martin28 says

      @Nakatomi Plaza
      We live in a world that has never been freer, except, as Folau found out, you challenge social justice theory. Then your life as you knew it will be destroyed, your freedom to do whatever you were doing will be taken away, and social justice theorists will tell you they have set you free. And don’t question that interpretation, or the social justice interpretation of history, either. You will be called a hater and your life will be upended. And, also, stop complaining. You must pretend to be happy you whiny bastards!
      That’s social justice theory for you!

  2. Not buying this outrage one a bit. If you are in the public eye you are far better off by keeping your big mouth shut. This has been a true and wise position for decades now, no matter the topic at hand. He posted it AND refused to take it off…that’s fucking stupid and should be a lesson to younger (or smarter) players, keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game.

    • neoteny says

      keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game

      Useful advice for living in totalitarian states.

    • Simon Johnson says

      I find it deeply amusing that our libertarian defenders of unrestrained capitalism want the state to suddenly step in when corporations act according to their own interests.

      • neoteny says

        our libertarian defenders of unrestrained capitalism want the state to suddenly step in

        Anyone who wants the state to step in is no stinkin’ libertarian.

      • Defenstrator says

        They don’t want the state to step in. They want corporations to stay out of peoples private lives, for which they are not entitled to have any say.

    • E. Olson says

      “…keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game.”

      Good advice, but why can’t corporations also follow it? Oreo cookies now come in Transgender supportive packaging, Audi ran a Super Bowl ad with inaccurate but Feminist ideology conforming gender pay gap themes, and Budweiser ran a Super Bowl ad supportive of open borders. The whole movie industry is in an uproar and threatening to stop making taxpayer subsidized films in Georgia because the state put some restrictions on abortion. Why can’t corporate leaders and their ad agencies keep their political beliefs to themselves and just concentrate on making cookies, cars, beer, and movies without pissing off half their customers (and possibly hurting the stock price and shareholders)?

      • Nate says

        I agree that shit is super annoying. Corporate culture has become infested with progressives. But there’s no sane way to legislate against Oreo making tranny flag cookies if they want to smugly virtue signal. It’s an unfortunate reality that this cancer of modern leftism has infected so many places of public life.

        • Aerth says

          More like some of societies were infected with it. Corporations are doing what they always do – monetize on it. Currently it is just much safer and easier to virtue signal and “support” progressive delusions.

        • Pete says

          If you don’t like it, stop buying their cookies. Why do hard-right types laud the free market until companies do something they don’t approve of. Then it’s all “virtue signalling” and “corporate wokeness”. Nope. Free market. Just as you’re free to boycott companies you don’t like.

          I don’t know how the religious extremists who are exploiting poor old dim-witted Folau as a weapon in their pathetic culture-war get around Australia, since both Qantas and Virgin Australia are LGBTI-positive companies, and they’re the only games in town.

          • Shrek 2020 says


            What if I tell you you can support the free market and dislike corporations being woke at the same time? Just like how you can dislike a company for a thousand other reasons. There is zero contradiction here. Even more, you yourself admit that people are free to boycott companies. And in order to boycott something you have to dislike it first. So your complaint makes absolutely no sense.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @E. Olson

        “Budweiser ran a Super Bowl ad supportive of open borders.”

        Illegals drink a lot of Bud Light.

        • Denny Sinnoh says

          Isn’t Bud Lite that beer for people who hate beer?

          • Morgan Foster says

            @Denny Sinnoh

            “Isn’t Bud Lite that beer for people who hate beer?”

            Yes, and they drink it icy cold to suppress even more of the small amount of flavor it has.

            It’s not really beer. It’s a kind of fermented grain beverage.

      • I agree man, but my main point is if the player restrained from virtue signalling in the first place he and his corporate sponsors would still be happy-go-lucky today. Almost a decade ago in my native Quebec there was this hot up and coming stand up comic who had the world at his feet. Then, one night, on a VERY popular TV show, he announced to the world that his fundamentalist Christian beliefs were at the core of his being and as such he agrees with the creationist theory that the universe was created in seven days 5000 years ago.

        Let’s just say that in secular Quebec that statement didn’t go well, he lost a huge chunk of his audience, his sponsors dropped him and fell into obscurity not long after. That was all before the culture war too.

        For me the lesson is simple, if you are in the public eye keep your mouth shut, stick to what you know and do what every sensible person does which is to write a tell-all biography once you retire.

        You almost had it right in your assumption about corporate leaders and their ad agencies, the main culprit are the latter though, not the former. Spend any time in ad agencies and you’ll see.

        • Aerth says

          @Philippe Gosselin
          “if you are in the public eye keep your mouth shut, stick to what you know and do what every sensible person does which is to write a tell-all biography once you retire.”

          It is not I disagree, in current climate it is certainly the safest way. The real issue is that this is very one sided. Currently it looks pretty much like this:

          conservative express their unpopular opinions: social media explodes and demand action from their employers (usually outright firing)
          progressives express their unpopular opinion: social media explodes only when their employers have balls to fire them.

        • Defenstrator says

          While I see what you are saying the problem is you are advocating signalling for me, and not for thee. If corporations can mouth off then so can individuals.

      • Steve Gerrard says

        This applies to the actions by ANZ and HCF in the article as well. In the free market capitalist system, corporations act in their own self interest. The marketing results speak for themselves. They are not pissing off half their customers, and they are not hurting their stock price or shareholders. They would change in a heartbeat if they were. It is just a fact that it pays better to “embrace diversity” than to be perceived on twitter as a pariah.

    • Aerth says

      Yes, but article is more about if his wife should be punished for pretty much nothing.

    • ga gamba says

      If you are in the public eye you are far better off by keeping your big mouth shut.

      Does this apply to companies as well?

      This has been a true and wise position for decades now […] keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game.

      You sure? A problem arises when some in the chattering class use social media to hound public figures in sport and entertainment to issue statements for/against something or someone. A while ago Taylor Swift followed your advice and kept her mouth shut. The outcome? Her silence was perceived as an endorsement of what her harassers disliked. Routinely entertainment reports ask actors questions such as “Should (name of character) be a person of the people of?” What do you think will happen if an actor declines to answer? Not a no, just a decline. Think back to that American footballer who sat for the national anthem. The reporters were hounding all the other athletes.

    • Lola Collins says

      What is the difference between believing something and outwardly proclaiming it. There is no difference. All Christians read the Bible therefore we don’t need to wait until they actually print/say something we can ban/fire/sue them now because we know what they believe, we know what they think and just thinking or believing it is unacceptable.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Philippe

      My concern on this issue is far stronger in relation to the air stewardess who was told to remove her crucifix because it offends passengers, or the couples counsellor who, because of his faith, who sacked for being unwilling to provide counselling to gay couples, when other counsellors were readily available within the government agency he worked for.

      In Europe more so than America, religion (by which I mean only Christianity) has become a class subordinated to every other aspect of the identity of others- race, sexuality, gender, culture and all the rest. But I would argue that faith is more important than any other aspect of identity, because it is a choice that is not a choice, in that to subordinate it to the will of others, one has to betray their own conscience.

      However when looking at matters of individual liberty, we have to look at who infringes upon whom’s liberty. For the woman wearing the crucifix, a far for more diplomatic approach would be for a manager to discreetly take her to one side and ask her to tuck it into her shirt- plus, it is based on the mistaken assumption that people of other faiths might be offended, when all evidence tends to suggest that people from other cultures would be far more worried by the thought of being served by an atheist. Atheists have no leg to stand on (or right to complain) because they maintain that their beliefs are not beliefs at all, and are frequently happy to lecture others that they are delusional for believing in God. For the counsellor, the local council could easily reassign workloads, rather than trying to force the employee to violate their faith, because in the UK employees have rights.

      But in this instance, the rugby player has signed a contract in good faith, and then proceeded to violate that contract by damaging the corporate brand. Most contracts contain some form of morals clause, which have to be examined on a case by case basis, but when you are in the public eye your image reflects on your employer, and those in sports have long been held to a higher standard.

      • @ Geary

        There is faith but there is also religious dogma. I’m an atheist now but grew up Catholic and the cool thing about Christianity is that it can be boiled down into one sentence:

        Love thy Neighbour

        Anything else is BS.

        In my eye, the rugby player virtue signaled his dogma rather than his faith, hence the shit storm.

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ Phillippe

          I agree, in this particular instance. But people do have a right to faith, or rather to worship as they choose, regardless of whatever other people may think. It’s an inherent principle to individual liberty. One of my favourite stories, is the fact that Thomas Jefferson cut out the miracles in his Bible, because whilst he valued Christianity’s teaching, he intensely disliked the idea of miracles. Makes one wonder what he did about the sermon on the mount, though…

          My point would be that having fought for centuries to obtain ascendancy, the agnostic or atheistic position has no more right to impose their beliefs on others than the Catholic Church did. By all means argue for the scientific method, but don’t ban or proscribe others, unless their beliefs actively infringe upon the liberties of others. In this case, his beliefs infringed upon the reputation of his employer.

          The seems to be a great deal of evidence that, at the population level, people cannot exist without some semi-religious ideology governing their lives, and all have proved more harmful than the world’s major religions. I imagine their is some form of benign biasing affecting memes, in much the same way that the most successful viruses do not kill their host. As if fascism, socialism, and communism were not enough, we now have intersectional feminism or Grievance Studies achieving a certain religiousity.

    • Pierre Pendre says

      Philippe Gosselin – There’s a case in Scotland at the moment involving a young man in conflict with authority who has been told he can think whatever he likes but cannot say it. I don’t know how many genders the Scottish government believes there are but when the young man told his teacher there were only two, the teacher told him he was wrong and could not say otherwise at school.

      The 17-year-old boy secretly recorded the teacher explaining to him in class that “authority” trumped reality and made the recording public. One wonders whether if “authority” demanded that the teacher tell his pupils 2+2=5, this latter day Bellarmine would blithely peddle that as incontrovertible wisdom too. Anyway, the boy was suspended for a week for disseminating the recording but on second thoughts the school has since expelled him altogether.

      One imagines this is in revenge for the ridicule their absurd ideological position on the number of genders has exposed them to. They seem to be confused between gender and the variety of sexual activities that possessors or one or other gender get up to. But whatever the reason, they are not going to tolerate any deviation from their worldview, however stupid and unsustainable the former makes them look.

      Anyway, that’s what happens when you don’t “keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game.” In the absence of freedom of speech, you get squashed by an ignorant leviathan with unassailable power.

      • Defenstrator says

        That kid got expelled over that. Something makes me think it didn’t change his views on gender, but he probably does now associate progressives with fascism.

    • Raoul says

      “keep your beliefs to yourself and play the damn game”
      Too bad Rugby Australia doesn’t adhere to that practice. Or Qantas or ANZ or HCF or any of the other corporate bullies, and the self nominated elites who occupy their boards, that presume to dictate what others may say or believe.

  3. Andrew Vanbarner says

    I could see “revilers and extortioners” as on the road to perdition, but doesn’t that verse condemn us all?
    At any rate it’s curious that only a condemnation of homosexuals set everyone off, when nearly all of us fornicate, consume alcohol, and lie with distressingly predictable regularity.
    As an occasionally tipsy person in possession of a functioning libido, I know I’m deeply offended, though not nearly as much as such bastions of morality as HSBC or the World Rugby League. Certainly not nearly enough to demand a star players termination.
    I thought alcoholic binges, bragaddoccio, and occasional fornication were the entire point of rugby, but Israel’s plea for clean living is admirable. Particularly when one’s profession involves an exceptional level of physical prowess and endurance.

    • Klaus C. says

      The obvious difference is that Folau’s views on homosexuality, which used to be enshrined in law, ensured that gay people were one of the most oppressed groups in society for a very long time (and still are, in many countries).

      It’s only within my lifetime that homosexual relationships between consenting men were actually legalised (as late as 1997, here in Tasmania, after a very long and wearying battle). But all the while the struggle also ensured that intelligent people of good will now reject the baseless prejudices that fuelled such vicious oppression.

      It’s both absurd and offensive to suggest that Folau’s traditional religious view – that gay people deserve an eternity of brutal torture – is some kind of helpful recipe for “clean living”.

      Sooner or later the religious promoters of superstitious homophobia will have to concede that such views are no longer regarded as socially acceptable. Sure, they’re free to continue publicly “expressing” these antisocial views, but they should expect that there will be social penalties to pay, which may include losing their jobs.

      • Photondancer says

        @Klais C

        And I hope you lose your job for expressing your opinion.

  4. bumble bee says

    It has become the new cottage industry for corporations to not only dismiss controversial spokespeople, but to virtue signal in the hopes of creating more business. Let’s make something clear, situations like this one, and the many others that have and will happen is nothing but a strategic business model to increase sales. That is what businesses do.

    What these businesses do not realize or maybe it hasn’t become a big enough monetary issue, is that they will lose business either way. The only difference is how large a social media presence with the offended create. It has already become a meme that those companies who changed their logos to include a rainbow during the past LGBTQ pride month quickly revert back to their original logo once the month is over.

    I personally no longer purchase products from companies that use this business model of virtue signaling to make money off a social issue. If they are unable to conduct business in a business like manner, devoid of emotions and SJW attitudes then I have no need for their products.

    • Simon Johnson says

      The point you miss, bumble bee, is that you are simply applying the exact same self-righteous consumerism that you accuse SJWs of doing. The difference is, corporations do their homework, and ignore your minority opinion and cater to where their bread is buttered.

      • bumble bee says

        “corporations do their homework, and ignore your minority opinion and cater to where their bread is buttered.”

        Isn’t that what I said myself? That this is all just to make a buck. The difference between myself not purchasing is a private decision, I do not broadcast (and I do not consider Quillette to be broadcasting) it to get others to do it. That is something everyone must decide for themselves.

        • Stephanie says

          Yes, bumblebee, and it has also become a meme on the left to point out that the rainbowing of storefronts and logos is 100 % for money. Funny how it’s turned around to be an indictment on greedy capitalists!

      • Just Sayin' says

        So Professional Rugby’s bread is buttered, in a material way, by the LGBT community. I learn new things every day.

  5. Farris says

    Why would someone care if another believed that person was going to Hell? Isn’t being concerned about that stranger’s belief tantamount to giving that stranger agency and control, as if he has any actual say in who is and is not going to Hell. I’m sure there are plenty who think I’m destined for Hell. So what? If you really want to chasten these critics ignore and dismiss them. To respond is to say their position is worthy of response and bears some weight and credibility. Indifference is a powerful weapon against those seeking attention at your expense. This should especially resonate with atheists. Can one really claim to be a nonbeliever if he finds a pronouncement he is going to Hell upsetting?
    For Christians this is directly addressed in the Bible.
    Matthew 7:1-5

    In other words up your own house before criticizing your neighbor.
    Also John 8:7 & 10-11

    Furthermore the Bible speaks to calling out people publicly. Matthew 18:15-17

    Wouldn’t it have been more effective to ignore or dismiss this rugby player as a crank or zealot rather than converting him into a martyr? What ever happened to the good old disclaimer…”The views expressed by Mr. & Mrs. do not necessarily reflect the views of the corporation that employs them.”

    Rugby Australia has made this mess for itself and it’s only just beginning. They could be found guilty of religious discrimination or hypocrisy when they fail to dismiss and player extolling an offensive progressive pronouncement. This isn’t physics. Each action does not require and equal and opposite reaction.
    The real legal question is… “Are corporations violating their fiduciary duty to their shareholders by playing virtue signaling games with shareholder money?” Though not a corporation the Oberlin College case should cause some of these corporations to pause and reflect.

    • jlawler says

      This is the most insightful comment I’ve read on this article. Why has society become obsessed with protecting folks from getting offended at something someone else has said. Why do we feel a need to keep our citizens in a bubble protecting them from any hurt feelings. This raises much deeper questions that none of the replies here address.

    • Photondancer says


      Love your comment. A refreshing antidote to the quislings above urging people to have no principles and meekly submit to tyranny.

      RA copped a lot of flak after some rugby players were accused of sexual assault. This seems to have propelled them into a massive overreaction to Folau’s post. I hope it redounds severely upon them.

    • Roger Armstrong says

      @farris, not sure where you come from but this breakdown in fiduciary duty has occurred in spades in the Australian and Nz newspaper industries, where boards have let managers let editors push papers far to the left compared to the generally old, conservative readership base of 20 years ago. These days the readership of the Fairfax papers has concentrated in the left so it’s an understandable business practice (like the guardian in the uk) but the journey from the old broad church papers to the woke concerns of today has cost shareholders a fortune.

  6. Strawberry Girl says

    Corporations are NOT our friends. They are rapidly turning into stateless oligarchies that are not answerable to either the free market or the democratic process, and therefore are becoming more totalitarian. See Big Tech, Big Banking, etc. deplatforming and depersonalizing “dissenters.”

  7. Andrew Scott says

    I’m not an alarmist and some things get blown out of proportion. In this case, however, the article doesn’t fully explore how serious this is.

    The next logical step is that employees should be prohibited from acknowledging affiliation with religions that don’t endorse homosexuality. Isn’t acknowledging such affiliation a much more direct expression of such beliefs than just offering support to one’s spouse? The wife expressed support for her husband which implies tolerance of his beliefs. Saying that you belong to a religion that has those beliefs is much more explicit.

    The statement, “I belong to XYZ religion and adhere to its beliefs” could be an unambiguous declaration that one regards homosexuality as sinful. Should we be prohibited from mentioning religious affiliations on social media? Or are some okay while others aren’t?

    • Martin28 says

      While I don’t agree that homosexuality is a sin, there is reason for religions to hold heterosexuality as sacred. Heterosexuality is the only kind that generates new human life. This special attribute of heterosexuality is not acknowledged by social justice theory. Those who insist that all religions must now hold all sexuality as equal would have us forget the primary purpose of sex.

    • tarstarkas says

      Andrew Scott:
      No, the real next step will require employees to engage in supporting and championing corporate social virtue signalling as a requirement for employment. And there are enough judges out there willing to support that that it might stick. Tacit acceptance of progressive values is no longer enough. They don’t just want your body, they want your soul (stolen from a Hall & Oates song)

    • Photondancer says


      I agree. I had been hoping Quillette would write on the Folau furore but this piece is disappointingly shallow.

      Folau’s sacking is straightforward discrimination. His opinions and posts to his private social media accounts have no bearing on his ability to play rugby. RA’s claim that he broke his contract is possibly false and in any case disingenuous. There was an appreciable delay between Folau’s post and RA trotting out the contract claim. They were almost certainly waiting to see how the public reacted. As happens too often these days they’ve mistaken a Twitter mob for widespread public anger.

      I find this scandal interesting for 2 reasons:
      1) it shows that SJWs will not hesitate to rip to shreds a brown skinned person who steps out of the role laid down for them by the ‘tolerant’ left
      2) it shows how short sighted SJWs are. Once the right to sack people for their private, non work related opinions is enshrined, do they really think it won’t be turned against them?

      Case in point: homosexuals have been lobbying for years to ban private religious schools from having morality clauses in their work contracts. But they are now saying corporations are allowed to have such clauses; indeed, they’re demanding they do so. This is discrimination against religious schools if they’re the only business entities not allowed to have such clauses.

  8. neoteny says

    not answerable to […] the free market

    What do you mean by this? All those corporations are “answerable to the free market” which sell their wares on the free market. If a corporation does virtue signalling, some people will buy more of that corporation’s wares; some other people will buy less, and some will not change their behaviour: i.e. those people who never bought anything from the corporation in question & doesn’t intend to do so in the future. Such a corporation is answerable to the free market: bears the consequences of its virtue signalling, pro or con.

  9. Bartek D. says

    On an interesting side note: a few days ago surprisingly similar case emerged in Poland – IKEA fired employee who quoted Bible verses condemning homosexuality. It’s now a hotly debate issue in Poland,and there’s a call for boycott.
    You may find more info by searching, for example “Ikea Risks Boycott in Poland After Firing Anti-LGBT Employee”.

  10. E. Olson says

    What would happen if famous Rugby player Mohammad Folau had posted verses from the Koran stating that good Muslims should stone to death all homosexuals and wage jihad against all infidels who support gay rights? After all, Israel Folau was only stating Biblical verses that suggest homosexuals (and a few other types of “sinners”) will not make it to heaven, which requires the “sinner” to actually believe there is a heaven for it to be “dangerous”, but nothing about hurting them while they live here on earth. Perhaps the Muslim star would be deemed by league officials and sponsors to be too difficult to fire and replaced in the diversity is our strength sweepstakes?

    Would the corporate sponsors of his wife’s team/league be issuing congratulatory offers of support if she had broken her marital vows (i.e. for better or worse, richer or poorer) and announced she was divorcing him? In any case, it certainly seems to be a popular corporate strategy to sponsor lesbian athletes who curse the President of the United States and the White House he lives in, but I wonder what the corporate officers would do if said lesbians started to criticize Islam or Transwomen competitors?

    And what is all of this “social justice” to achieve? If the fan based demographics of Australian Rugby are anything like American football, losing the homosexual audience might mean dozens of fewer viewers in the stands and TV ratings looking at the sponsor banners, and if homosexuals are your key target market you might be better off sponsoring Dancing with the Stars or the Will and Grace reboot. Of course an alternative strategy would be simply to makes a statement that goes something like this: “while we don’t agree with the viewpoints expressed by athlete X, we respect his right to express his religious beliefs and his right to free speech, and thus we plan to continue our support for League/Team/Athlete X.”

    • Harold Porter says

      The major feature of this story that the article didn’t cover is that Folau was fired by Rugby Australia after pressure from their sponsor Qantas Airlines (which has a strong SJW agenda and whose CEO is gay)…however,at the same time, Qantas has also entered into a commercial partnership with Emirates Airlines, the national carrier for Dubai, a country where homosexuality is still illegal. (Oh, and by the way, you don’t even have to invent a muslim rugby player. There is one, called Sonny Bill Williams….)

      • E. Olson says

        Thanks for the information Harold. Interesting that homosexuals are so persecuted in Australia that the national airline has a gay CEO, and I’m sure he included in the contract with Emirates that air crews are not allowed to throw gay people off the planes at 30,000 feet.

      • Anj says

        Fill up your tank or use an iphone?
        We all have blood on our hands…

        • Harold Porter says

          @Anj…agreed, however, I’m not simultaneously making a ‘virtuous statement’ about alleged homophobia

          • Anj says

            But you are making a ‘virtuous statement’ none the less regarding the ethics of Folau’s sacking whilst clicking away.
            See, one can still see injustice whilst using the product of the unjust.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says

        @ Harold Porter

        That’s it in a nutshell. The virtue signalling is, was, and always will be a mere sideshow bagatelle next to the main attraction, which is, was, and always will be money.

  11. David George says

    A very recent court ruling in the UK (between a university and a Christian) on this issue has interesting parallels and possibly implications for the Folau case.

    “The Respondant [university] failed to appreciate two matters. First, failing to appreciate that the Appellant’s apparent intransigence was an understandable reaction to being told something that he found incomprehensible, namely that he could never express his deeply held religious views in any manner on any public forum […]

    The judge should have recognised that the Appellant’s comments were made in a social as opposed to a professional context, his beliefs were a genuine contribution to an important public debate, and were in response to direct questions […]

    The situation was not helped by the terse – and arguably inaccurate – terms in which the complaint against the Appellant was initially recorded, namely him posting “views of a discriminatory nature”[…]

    The public perception of a risk of discrimination cannot justify a restriction on the Appellant’s freedom of expression. To suppress the expression of Biblical criticism of sexual practices would amount to a heckler’s veto […]

    The disciplinary proceedings were flawed and unfair to the Appellant. The fundamental fault for the unfortunate course which the disciplinary proceedings took lay with the Respondant […]
    For all the reasons given above, we would allow the appeal.”

    Court summary:

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ David

      Great comment. Very informative.

  12. The Ulcer says

    This debate reveals some interesting dynamics. As the author points out, corporations hold the exectioner’s axe while employees are expected to tow the line and stay silent. This is not new. What IS new, however, is who these corporations are rooting for. Big business used to be accused of being on the wrong end of social good.

    Remember the movie Philadelphia? Tom Hanks’ character had to listen to egregious homophobia from his future law partners. When his sexual orientation was discovered he was fired, and the movie-going public and Academy were outraged. Now that corporations, especially the real money machines in Silicon Valley, have turned left and fire the likes of James Damore, who is outraged?

    I’m not trying to draw a parallel between James Damore and those who fought hard for civil and personal rights. My point is that the progressive left has so far failed to publicly acknowledge the alliance they have with big business. Why is that? Is big business still the enemy even when they wield the supreme power to fire people and wreck lives based on having the “wrong point of view”?

    • neoteny says

      corporations hold the exectioner’s axe while employees are expected to tow the line and stay silent

      Employees have another option: quit & go work somewhere else (possibly at another corporation which plays the “corporate responsibility” game less SJW-ishly).

      • The Ulcer says

        That works fine if you quit. But if you get fired from a big company like Google for thought crime you are probably damaged goods and unhireable.

        • neoteny says

          if you get fired from a big company like Google for thought crime you are probably damaged goods and unhireable

          True — primarily for other large corporations (which have to play the game quite SJW-ishly because of legal liability). I’m not saying that a large corp can’t impose nasty economic costs on someone, but there is life outside of Silicon Valley.

          Why do people who (vehemently) disagree with Google’s social policies want to work for Google? Because Google pays well? Some of that payment is for buckling under; for toeing the corporate lion. It is a trade-off (as is everything in life). There’s only one sure way for a Google employee to change Google: by quitting.

      • BrannigansLaw says

        “Employees have another option: quit & go work somewhere else”

        Bull**** boomer mentality. Getting a decent job is not that easy and changing jobs can be a huge problem if you have a family and need to resettle.

        • neoteny says

          Getting a decent job is not that easy and changing jobs can be a huge problem if you have a family and need to resettle.

          All true; and it is also true that people calculate all these things into their employment decisions. If people deem Google’s employment policies decent, then there’s no problem for them; and those who deem it less than decent can decide if the other decencies of the job worth for them to keep their yappers shut.

      • Harold Porter says

        However in the case of Folau, he can’t play somewhere else, because by World Rugby rules, once you’ve played for one country, you can’t play for another…so being fired by Rugby Australia means he can’t play for any other international team.

        • neoteny says

          once you’ve played for one country, you can’t play for another

          Whatevs. I don’t care about guild systems and people who become part of such a system.

  13. idontliketheinternet says

    Where did ‘persons with tattoos’ come from? I see that no where in the tweet or in any translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Seems odd that the author would include such a category in the list. Am I missing something?

    • Bab says

      Leviticus 19:28: ”You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”

    • Harold Porter says

      I think the author is having a bit of a dig at Folau, who has many tattoos…

  14. Daz says

    The article is primarily about his wife’s treatment for simply standing by her husbands actions. Even though she hasn’t repeated his words or opinions in public, the corporations sponsoring her teams are sending her a warning to keep quiet. Whilst also cashing in on the publicity.
    I think the question is, what is the real reasons for their behavior?

  15. Sydney says

    “All the elements of a terrible joke are present…”

    A morally vacant-yet-opportunistically-woke corporation; an entitled sports star and his athlete wife; and a sports organization all walk into a bar…

    A principled-and-religious cake baker and an entitled and victicratic gay couple are in a boat…

    A bunch of intersectional college brats walk into a college-town grocery-bakery shoplifting when all of a sudden…

  16. George says

    This article misses an important point- in Folau’s mind he was doing us a good turn. He was clearly proselytizing which is central to the practise of his religion as a born again Christian. Yes the Bible says most of us are going to hell but then it offers us a way out-Jesus.
    The question then is does an employer have the right to prevent an employee practicing their religion?
    As to being offended -I don’t believe in hell so how does that make sense. If his religion deemed I should be thrown to certain death from a tall building that would be another matter though

  17. Stephanie says

    We are seeing the consequences of the left’s complaints that corporations are immoral, when in reality they were simply amoral, as they should be. Politics and social issues are not their table and it is a damn shame that so many have chosen to dabble in it. It is the fault of the consumers who think this is an appropriate game for them to play.

    I bank with ANZ and will contact them with my dissatisfaction.

  18. Klaus C. says

    Folau’s message to me, a gay man, is: “you deserve to be brutally tortured for all eternity”.

    My message to Folau is: “You deserve to be laughed at for the nasty, primitive clown that you are.”

    The fact that he lost his “job” and the millions earned from playing a kiddie’s ball game is fine by me. Any misfortune that befalls this creature should be welcomed.

    • Mrs. Reily says

      Why can’t you tolerate his ideas that you don’t like, that you clearly think have no basis in reality and, if you behave as an adult and dismiss them from your consciousness, have zero affect on your life? Why should he suffer misfortune because he thinks thoughts you don’t approve of? Should I wish ill on you, or on anyone, because of their thoughtcrime? How can you justify your intolerance?

      • Klaus C. says

        Folau’s views have a minor effect on my life, but potentially a much more significant effect on more vulnerable people, such as young gay sports fans already dealing with hostility from their peers, or elderly, isolated individuals.

        He can think whatever thoughts he likes, however deranged. But when he puts antisocial thoughts into words on social media, with the express purpose of gaining maximum publicity for them, then he should expect the usual penalties that antisocial behaviour attracts.

        It’s not “intolerant” to object to hateful intolerance. It’s your kind of moral relativist thinking that has created a “multicultural” society where calling out religious bigotry becomes increasingly difficult, and fundamentalist Christianity and Islam grow more aggressive.

        • Harold Porter says

          @Klaus C….but what affect do Rugby Australia’s actions having on young christian sports fans…?

          • Klaus C. says

            False equivalence, for a number of reasons, including:

            a) Rugby Australia are not vilifying Christians. They sacked Folau for vilifying gays, not for being Christian.

            b) Religion is a set of ideas to which believers freely subscribe. They don’t have to subscribe to the nasty bits, and it’s probably fair to say that most Australian Christians reject the homophobic beliefs of people like Folau.

        • Photondancer says


          I’ve seen that bullshit line about how poor young gay rugby fans have had their lives destroyed by Folau’s post many times now. Neither you nor anyone else has provided any evidence whatsoever that this has actually happened. Even if it had it still doesn’t stop Folau and everyone else from having the right to private opinions free from corporate control.

        • JWJ says

          To Klaus: I call out your leftist religious bigotry and object to your hateful intolerance.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Klaus C.
      Fair enough but it’s a knife that cuts two ways.
      Who will stand for you when your transphobia is revealed costing you your job and house? Identifying as “gay” ( or even using the word in a public forum) is exclusive, marginalizing and transphobic and will be recognized by your employer as such in a year or two.

      To the degree that “gay” means not being attracted to trans-men with male breasts and male vaginas it is clearly denying their existence as men. Things are moving quickly so tread carefully.

  19. Nakatomi Plaza says

    I don’t get it. You guys love corporations. You love markets. Well, this is how markets work. Society is no longer tolerant of hatred against gays, and as a direct result of this corporations are forced to be sensitive to the changing standards of society. (Obviously, this only applies to certain circumstances. Corporations clearly don’t give a fuck about the public feelings towards military spending, global warming, or deregulation.) If you’re marketing soda, or TV, or rugby, or whatever, this is how you stay in business.


    • Harold Porter says

      “Society is no longer tolerant”…didn’t you say elsewhere that we live in a tolerant society…seems not…

    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

      I agree with Nakatomi Plaza. Never thought I’d say that!

      Corporations, at least publicly traded for profit corporations, have only one job: Maximize the return to their shareholders. That’s it.

      No doubt decision makers at these companies would prefer to avoid controversy, but this is impossible these days, especially for companies (like Nike, Proctor & Gamble, InBev, General Motors, etc.) that rely on hugely watched sporting events and highly paid athletes to promote and endorse their products. They know who their customers are (and if they don’t, they have bigger problems). Taking a stand one way or another may gain them some business while costing them other business. Can’t be avoided. They have to weigh the costs/benefits of going woke and virtue signalling If they thought “go woke” meant “go broke” they would not do it..

      In fact, some companies have decided to woke virtue signal as part of their regular advertising (pride rainbow Oreo cookies, males are terrible people commercials for selling razors, etc.)

      Look at this latest Betsy Ross flag shoe Kaepernick kerfuffle. Nike knows they will take flack for their decision to pull the shoes, but they no doubt believed they would lose more business if they did not pull the shoes. I don’t know if they made the right decision, but it is their decision to make.

      This is private commerce. The athlete can abide by the terms of his or her contract, or do something else for a living. The fans can express their displeasure or approval in the player being sacked by buying more or less tickets or by supporting or avoiding the sponsors they view as responsible. the chips fall where they may.

      • Rev. Wazoo! says

        @Weasels Ripped
        Except that Rugby Australia is not a publicly traded corporation and received $29 million in government grants last year as a public good. (TV revenues much bigger anyway so why the grants?) They don’t pay dividends as such but do distribute some income to their constituting members which are state rugby union associations.

        Perhaps the government can find a better use for that $29 million….

  20. Chester Draws says

    The hidden part of this is that the Australian rugby team in large part agree with Folau. Many are fellow Polynesian church goers. By sacking him Rugby Australia have pissed off a large number of their employees.

    What annoys me though is the asymmetric nature of what is allowed. You can spout any old drivel as a long as it is progressive, as Pocock (the captain) does frequently.

    So the conservative members of the team must be sitting there fuming as statements they strenuously object to are given, with no allowance for opposition. About matters entirely unrelated to rugby.

    It is key that Rugby Australia are near broke. Other rugby countries might be able to state down a similar sponsor.

    Maria Folau might have been warned by ANZ. But the NZ team welcomed her back regardless. They know that unity is important in any team.

  21. C Young says

    If we want to live in a free and diverse society, only one way of seeing the world can be permissible and all of those who dissent from it in any way must be punished severely. If we truly believe in tolerance and justice we must give dissidents absolutely no quarter.

    This paradox is the universal history of political radicalism.

    • Martin28 says

      That sounds like 1984. If only one way of seeing the world is permissible, there is no way to know if that world view is valid. There is no way to keep it honest. That’s a brutal world where pure power determines everything. I believe in a world where everything can and must be questioned, including the idea that everything can and must be questioned.

  22. Anj says

    Just when libertarians had a point about pc culture & free speech they had to take it too far with this G up.
    Credibility fading fast people. If you can’t accept necessary limitations you don’t understand the human condition. Civilised attitudes are no accident.
    What next? Do away with discrimination law?
    “We’ll just let our clever ideas & debating skills do the policing”?
    You gotta know when to hold ’em & when to fold ’em…

    • Peter from Oz says

      Yes, doing away with anti discrimination law would be a great and sensible thing to do. Actual discrimination would plummet straight away, as most of the so called discrimination we have now is invented by activists to keep themselves in a job.

      • Anj says

        Enjoy the view ol’ white man, times almost up…..

  23. DNY says

    I guess it’s lost on the nabobs at HFC that the non-discrimination phrase they used in their objection to Maria Folou’s support of her husband included RELIGIOUS BELIEF, and discrimination against a religious belief — that buggery is in the same moral category as lying, adultery and getting tattoos on the basis of a rather plain reading of the Old Testament Scriptures — is exactly what they are supporting.

  24. DNY says

    I guess it’s lost on the nabobs at HFC that discrimination against religious belief — in this instance the view, held on the basis of a plain reading of the Old Testament law that homoerotic sex is in the same moral category as lying, adultery, and getting tattoos — is exactly what they are supporting by objecting to Maria Folou’s support of her husband.

  25. DNY says

    Sorry for the double post. I’ve been having trouble with my posts not showing up.

  26. Hell, I’m usually a big free speech advocate, but in this case I’m siding with the corporations. It’s in their interests to make money. Full stop. When someone representing their brand is behaving in a way that could potentially drive out an increasingly-significant demographic, they have to step in. It’s only natural. These leagues usually have some pretty wizardly eggheads running the numbers on what is and isn’t good for their bottom line. These decisions likely weren’t made by teams of SJWs, they were more likely made by teams of actuaries who realized that they’d stand to lose less money by isolating a fraction of a fraction of the most radical Christians than by isolating the entire queer community and those who support them.

    Australia’s own Dr. Kinsey observed that at least 10% of the population is gay, and that was in the ’60s when less people would have been comfortable talking about it, even to researchers. Would you want to lose out on 10% or more of merchandise and ticket sales over one idiot who can’t keep his mouth shut and respect the authority figures who write his paycheques? Most Christians these days don’t even believe what he’s saying, at least not to that extreme. In fact, many believe that idiot celebrities like him who misrepresent Jesus’ message* are the reason why their numbers keep going down. Gee, who would have thought that hurling spiritual threats of everlasting suffering and torture at people you disagree with wasn’t the best strategy for recruitment?

    Any of you who don’t like that the corporations are controlling this scene, well what the hell did you expect? You watch a sport with over 12 corporate logos in every frame that’s being broadcast and expect it to be “pure” like the good ol’ days when all the players on the team still had day jobs? Go watch the minor and local leagues if you want that. No, they don’t play as well, but hey, at least they’re more free to express themselves! That’s what makes an athlete great and fun to watch, right?

    Seriously, if you read the Gospels, you’ll know Jesus wasn’t like that. Sure, there were some assholes he trusted that waited until he died before preaching discrimination in his name (cough Paul cough), but J.C. himself was the chillest, most accepting homey in the entire Bible.

    • D-Rex says

      I’m sorry, ‘at least 10% of the population is gay’? Maybe in San Francisco but not anywhere else. Besides, there are a lot more Christians in Australia than alphabet people but nobody seems to be too concerned about offending them.
      Now I do think that Mr. Folau was foolish for tweeting what he did and as a christian myself, disagree with the sentiment of the tweet but defend his right to say it. I also don’t agree that your employer has any right to sanction public comments someone makes not in relation to their employ.
      I will add that the Bible has a lot more to say about lying or bearing ‘false witness’ than sexuality so Christians who focus the majority of their ire towards gays lack perspective.

      • Anj says

        But he did make a comment in relation to his employment.
        His twitter account is a shared space with the ARU given his notoriety & followers are mostly from them. He therefore speaks on their behalf to their clientele & represents them to a degree.
        Not so free speechy for an employer when they can’t control how their brand is promoted.
        He used his employer to advertise his beliefs & wants to force their complicity.
        It’s not as if he went to a local church to preach.

        • Harold Porter says

          Folau was famous long before Qantas became a sponsor of Aussie Rugby…

    • Photondancer says


      This isn’t an issue about homosexuality, though the homosexual lobby is fighting hard to present it that way. This is about whether your employer has the right to control what you say and do in your private life and a lot of people understand that. And we don’t want it.

      RA could find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. I hope so.

  27. John says

    “HCF, who sponsor the Thunderbirds, offered their own condemnation, affirming that they “do not support Maria Folau’s stance” and that “there is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race, or sexual orientation.”
    Then they discriminate against Maria on the basis of her religion.
    Hypocrisy doesn’t get much more naked than that.

    • Depending on how that line is interpreted, it could be understood to mean that you are not allowed to use religious belief as a basis for discrimination. In which case, no hypocrisy has been committed, but this rugby player is still in violation of his contract with the league. Due to the complications that arise from the vagueness in the letter of the policy, it’s difficult to clearly determine the spirit of the policy.

      Of course, at the end of the day, the policy that rules over all other policies is “make money”. This player’s behavior threatened that core policy, which is the real reason why this decision was made.

    • James Williams says

      Right on the nail! Astonishing that they seem oblivious of their own hypocrisy.

  28. Robert Reseigh says

    One unfortunate mistake in this article is that he did not mention tattoos, in fact he has them and it is culturally acceptable by polynesians. Perhaps you are mistaken by hiz reference to idolaters. Fact check please. Other than that a great article.

    • Harold Porter says

      No, I think it’s a bit of a dig at Folau.

  29. Ivan says

    Well – I am looking forward to all these issues going through a strict and rigorous analysis according to the rules of the court and law.
    We have seen the outcomes when we follow the rules of the mob and the courts of social media.

  30. SaintLeRat says

    Folau is not just a champion rugby player but a champion user. He’s using religion, he’s using his employer & he’s using libertarianism to feed his jesus complex.
    Now with his footy career in it’s twilight years he’s seeking further idolatry resurrecting himself as the religious martyr.
    Faux libertarians looking to one up leftists are but easy pickings for him & only encourage further exploitation of freedoms by sophistry.
    Since when was social media necessary to practise religion? And it’s not even as if it’s use for religious purposes was completely restricted just the bigoted bits that are at odds with community standards.
    Stop feeding this fanatic’s neuroses off the back of principles he happily tramples on himself.

    • James Williams says

      You do not know his motives and you do not know his state of mind.

      • SaintLeRat says

        “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
        ― John Locke

  31. James Williams says

    So what we have now is, after about 200 years of being free from stupid blasphemy laws, they have now come back in the form of social justice suppression of freedom of speech. Corporate entities should refuse to engage in any sanctions. It is not for them to dictate what people believe. I am no fundamentalist and do not agree with Israel Folau’s views, but I am 100% behind his right to hold and say these things without fear or favour. The Corporate elites are way out of line.

    • Rational Number says

      I agree, but i have been wrestling with the following –

      If he had said –
      “White people will go to hell”. It would probably be ok.
      “Black people will go to hell”. It definitely would not be ok, as it should not.
      “Gay people will go to hell”. It seems is not ok.
      “Atheists will go to hell”. It would be deemed ok. But then Atheists dont believe in hell, and just laugh at the ignorance of the man.

      But why the difference in acceptibility ? And since there is no heaven or hell, how can anyone take offence at this nonsense in the first place ? The most at risk group would probably be catholic priests.

    • Photondancer says


      And the worst of it is, now ScoMo is looking to use this scandal to bring in a religious protection law rather than the free speech protection law Australia actually needs. Thanks for nothing Rugby Australia!

  32. James says

    The underlying story here is how corporations are being led and managed by people that are incapable of handling these types of situations. Probably over time and after much push back they will see their errors and correct their course. It may possibly require new leadership but this current ‘wokeness’ path of administration is clearly incompetent.

  33. Zessn says

    Every Employment Contract I have signed in my professional life has had a clause restricting my free speech such that I cannot publish ANYTHING that would bring disrepute on my employer. If you don’t like your Employment Contract don’t sign it, negotiate a new one, or STFU!

    • Harold Porter says

      Except that Folau never signed such a contract. The ARU only tried to Foist it on him after they realised what his views were, and he refused to sign it.

    • Mike says


      I’m no expert on Australian law, but I suspect that such a contractual clause would be limited by generally applicable employment/anti-discrimination laws, including laws against discrimination based on religious belief. Where I live, a contractual clause that prohibits you from publicly stating your religious beliefs is not likely to be enforced.

  34. “there is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race, or sexual orientation.”

    This is the most interesting but to me: how can anyone state there is no place for discrimination on religious belief when criticising someone who is stating an opinion based on their religious belief?

    • Klaus C. says

      Criticism of religious beliefs does not represent “discrimination against religious believers.” Religious beliefs are sets of ideas, and can and should be subject to as much criticism as any other ideas.

      And as you may have noticed, there are some very barbaric religious beliefs out there. When ISIS beheads their “infidel” captives in the name of Allah, do you think this reflects beliefs that society should tolerate?

      Civilised societies tend to be OK with religious beliefs that are compatible with civilised society. A few generations ago, vilifying gay people by declaring that they deserve to burn in Hell (however absurd the notion of “Hell” may be) would have been regarded as socially acceptable, but it’s not surprising that this is no longer the case.

      The mainstream churches, while still generally hostile to gay people and gay relationships, have toned down their rhetoric considerably because they realise that such statements are now widely interpreted as antisocial, and would thus serve to push their religion further into the social margins.

      Fundamentalist groups like the Pentecostals (Folau’s sect) still pour on the full fire and brimstone, damnation-to-the-gays line. Folau and his ilk are of course free to make such statements, but they need to accept responsibility for any negative social consequences they then experience as a result.

      • Kevin Herman says

        Its still a mainstream Catholic belief although they try to downplay it and liberal Catholics try to pretend it away. You can try to call it fringe all you want. My personal belief as a practicing Catholic is its not my job to say that thousands of years of Church teaching is wrong. The so called science surrounding homosexuality is murky at best regardless. I don’t quite believe its a choice but at the same I don’t believe science has proven you are born that way. Even if was not a Christian I struggle to figure out a reason for this type of behavior to exist to the benefit of mankind. It doesn’t further the existence of mankind and male to male sex is rife with health risks. Anyway I’m more a kill them all let God sort them out type. Most Christians believe everyone is a sinner in one shape or another in need of repentance including themselves. People like to exaggerate the hate element. Maybe not in this case but in general.

      • Mike says

        Firing someone based on the content of their publicly expressed religious beliefs is absolutely religious discrimination. If he said “gays will not go to hell” he would not have been fired. Instead, he said (paraphrased) “gays will go to hell.” The content of his religious belief is the basis of the discrimination.

  35. Rational Number says

    I dont see the problem with what he said. Let him say it and self identify as a fool. Let peer group friends, sporting associates avoid him, and natural justice will follow. He didnt vilify on the grounds of race, but of life style actions, atheists , homosexuals etc. His stupidity was spread over many groups of people, and anyone who actually believes that what he says will happen is equally ignorant.
    As for his wife, the persecution she got from the ANZ bank and HCS as he netball sponsors is completely unwarranted. She is permitted to support her husband without stating anything herself, and those companies are more than permitted to shut the fuck up and say nothing as it just is not required to do so. Kudos to the netball organisations for standing firm behind her.

  36. Barry says

    Despite being gay myself, I have sympathy for Israel Folau (and his wife). If he feels that homosexuality is morally wrong, then he should be entitled to say that. It’s not like he was advocating violence against gays – he was simply stating the traditional Christian position that homosexuality is a sin. I’m generally anti-abortion and would be pretty angry if I was fired from my job for saying so. As for “corporate morality” – what the hell is that? Most corporations and employers wouldn’t know what morality was if it came up and slapped them in the face. More like virtue-signalling hypocrisy.

  37. Veri says

    “Israel Folau can legally express his belief that homosexuals will go to hell”

    It’s NOT his belief, it’s written in the bible. Thus “the bible” believes it.

  38. Rev. Wazoo! says

    An significant side-note:
    “Rugby Australia filed a $5.2 million surplus in 2018, having record a $3.7 million loss in 2017. However, even without the Folau saga, Chairman Cameron Clyne had already predicted more financial losses in 2019”

    If they have to cough up another $10 million then things could be tough. Emotional distress is covered by insurance but breach of contract isn’t which raises a salient point: why fire someone for a first offence? Why not fine them 10 grand for their perceived transgression?

    How do you lose. money with a state-sponsored monopoly world-class rugby and the exclusive rights to be the national team to boot? The same rank. Incompetence as led them to this latest foolishness. Renter mentality (“Nobody can break our iron rice-bowl so we can hire fellow ideologues regardless of competence”} eventually produces an incompetent organizational which makes such unnecessary and self-destructive decisions.

    Again, they could have just fined him and moral point made. But no…. They eliminated him with no accurate risk assessment – the classic mistake of renters whose sense of entitlement has grown to match their sense of imperviousness.

    We shall see how this lawsuit plays out but either way, I predict more losses for an organization with a license to print money.

  39. Mike says

    “there is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race, or sexual orientation”

    As long as you keep your religious beliefs to yourself, that is.

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