Sacked NRL star Israel Folau, 30, has had limited public support from fellow celebrities, after he was axed from the Wallabies last month over his homophobic comments.
Former boxing champion, Anthony Mundine, and 2GB radio host, Alan Jones, are among a few high profile people who have criticised Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate the devout Christian’s $4 million contract.
Media expert, Nicole Reaney, of InsideOut Public Relations, told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday that there are valid reasons why celebrities who may agree with Israel’s controversial views are reluctant to speak out.
Sacked NRL star Israel Folau (pictured), 30, has had limited public support from fellow celebrities, after he was axed from the Wallabies last month over his homophobic comments
She said some people fear widespread condemnation, which can often lead to career suicide.
‘It’s never a good idea to dive into public commentary on a topic that’s highly sensitive or divisive – unless of course you have the credentials to speak on a particular comment or it’s your area of expertise,’ Nicole said.
‘A following can quickly turn, and perceptions of personal image shift – particularly if you don’t have the facts or information to back it up.
The final straw: Israel shared this post on Instagram in April, which prompted his contract termination
Comedian Magda Szubanski and Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley are among a number of stars who have condemned Israel’s Instagram post last month, which claimed all homosexuals are going to hell unless they ‘repent’.
Nicole said, ‘There are definitely situations where people with profile feel the pressure to comment on topics and situations.
‘The pressure is felt when more and more people with profile begin to share their view or they are questioned by media or their own following to share a statement.’
Controversial: Former rugby star Antony Mundine (pictured), 44, who has also come under fire for his controversial views on homosexuality in the past, recently slammed Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate Israel’s $4 million contract as ‘racist’
Candid: Former Wallabies coach and 2GB broadcaster, Alan Jones (pictured), 76, said he is ‘ashamed’ of the sport after Rugby Australia sacked Israel
In May, axed Wallabies star Israel was found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia’s code of conduct and his four-year contract was terminated.
A poll conducted by The Australian at the time found that among 21,700 respondents, 89 per cent believe Israel should not be axed.
Former rugby star Antony Mundine, 44, who has also come under fire for his controversial views on homosexuality in the past, slammed Rugby Australia’s decision as ‘racist’.
Weighing in: In a piece written for The Herald Sun on Thursday, Sky News host Andrew Bolt, 59, said while Israel’s comments are ‘vile’ – the ‘bullying’ he and his wife, Maria, have faced is ‘vicious’ and unacceptable
‘That’s how racist this county is that Izzy Folau can be sacked for quoting a scripture from the bible,’ Anthony wrote on Facebook.
‘But Frazier anning can [say] what the hell he wants with his foul month & still have a job ?! When a high profile brother expresses his views the system got to shut that s**t down quick ! You ain’t even free to say what you believe what a joke.’
Former Wallabies coach, Alan Jones, 76, said he is ‘ashamed’ of the sport after Rugby Australia’s termination.
Under fire: Devout Christians, Israel and his netball star wife Maria (right), have been criticised for their views
‘This will go as far as the High Court if it has to go there. The battle has just begun,’ Alan said on his breakfast radio show last month.
‘I coached Australian rugby, I was proud of it, I was proud of the boys and I was proud of everything we stood for. Today, I’m ashamed of the very people who’ve inherited our proud legacy.’
In a piece written for The Herald Sun on Thursday, Sky News host Andrew Bolt, 59, said while Israel’s comments are ‘vile’ – the ‘bullying’ he and his wife, Maria, have faced is ‘vicious’ and unacceptable.
Taking a stand: Earlier this week, comedian and LGBTI activist, Magda Szubanski (pictured), 58, launched a rival GoFundMe campaign to raise $500,000 for sick kids and an LGBTI charity after Israel’s campaign was taken down
Earlier this week, comedian and LGBTI activist, Magda Szubanski, 58, launched a rival GoFundMe campaign to raise $500,000 for sick kids and an LGBTI charity.
‘I can’t believe that I’m up here talking about this stuff again,’ Magda said on The Project this week.
‘We wanted to have a response to Israel Folau that’s not combative… I would love to have a conversation with him… we don’t want to do a tit for tat thing we want to try and change this dialogue and show that there are a lot of people from diverse faiths who can get along.’
Criticism: Veteran TV presenter, Kerri-Anne Kennerley (pictured on Studio 10), previously described Israel’s views as ‘not Christian’
Veteran TV presenter, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, previously described Israel’s views as ‘not Christian’.
‘Of all the quotes from the bible, of which there are thousands, why would you choose one that singled out a particular part of society that today is very well accepted and very well embraced in our community?’ Kennerley said on Studio 10.
‘To me, that’s not Christian.’
Israel recently launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to raised $3 million for legal costs in his $10 million legal battle against Rugby Australia and the Waratahs, however it was recently taken down for breaching the site’s terms of service.
Making a statement: Sunrise presenter, Edwina Bartholomew, 35, applauded GoFundMe for removing Israel’s campaign and recently urged his supporters to redirect their funds to a brain cancer charity
On Tuesday, The Australian Christian Lobby launched a second crowdfunding campaign for Israel on its website and it received even more donations in the first 24 hours than the GoFundMe campaign.
By Thursday, $2 Million had been raised for Israel from more than 20,000 donors in just two days.
Sunrise presenter, Edwina Bartholomew, 35, applauded GoFundMe for removing Israel’s campaign and recently urged his supporters to redirect their funds to a brain cancer charity.
Expert opinion: Branding expert, Nicole Reaney (pictured), is the founder of InsideOut Public Relations