Folau’s Public Homophobic Comments Do More Than Just Hurt His Career

Folau’s Public Homophobic Comments Do More Than Just Hurt His Career
SHARE
THIS



Disgraced rugby player Israel Folau is set to fight for his $4 million deal after Rugby Australia issued a termination notice on April 10 following his homophobic social media post.

Folau requested the Code of Conduct hearing, set to take place on Saturday May 4, to appeal Rugby Australia’s (RA’s) decision to sack him over his controversial post on Instagram.

RA chief executive officer Raelene Castle stressed the termination of Folau’s contract is about the issue of responsibility, rather than punishment for his religious beliefs.

Castle told reporters in Sydney Monday afternoon: “This is not a religious discussion.

“This is a discussion around the employee, employer relationship and the values and the contractual arrangements within that agreement, that’s on the basis on which we have served him a breach notice.”

Castle did confirm Folau did not have a social media clause in his contract but said there was a “verbal and written” informal agreement.

Whether Folau wins the case or not, although a win will certainly result in more harm than good for everyone involved, his homophobic comments have done more than just hurt his career. His comments could ultimately harm RA’s sponsor relationships, and the sponsors themselves.

Because if Folau wins, it begs the question: what will Rugby Australia’s sponsors do?

It’s not the first time Folau has been in hot water with sponsors over posting homophobic content to social media.

When Folau made similar homophobic comments a year ago, it was reported that Qantas was re-evaluating its sponsorship of the Wallabies.

Last years’ homophobic comment on Instagram was subsequently deleted, however, Folau stood by his comments, citing his Christian faith as the reason for his view, denying he was bigoted or homophobic.

At the time, Castle said RA did not agree with his views, they accepted his position and would not sanction him.

Almost exactly a year later, Folau again posted homophobic comments on Instagram. This time, however, Rugby Australia chose to not stand by the Wallabies player, instead announcing its intention to terminate his contract, which Folau has decided to appeal.

Corporate sponsor Qantas publicly condemned his latest comments saying they did not “reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity” it supports.

While the Australian airline clearly decided to continue their sponsorship after Folau’s first fumble, it remains to be seen what the corporate sponsor will do if Folau wins his case.

B&T reached out to Qantas, but as of yet received no comment.

Network 10, who is also a sponsor of RA, said they fully support Rugby Australia’s position.

CEO of Network 10 Paul Anderson said: “As a Network we absolutely support inclusion, diversity and respect and we fully support the position Rugby Australia has taken.”

B&T also reached out to various other RA sponsors, including Powerade and Destination NSW, who did not respond.

Speaking with Lisa Annese, CEO of Diversity Council Australia (DCA), we asked whether sporting sponsors needed to take a harder stance when it came to continuing their sponsorship of sporting stars who exhibit discriminatory behaviour, and she said it ultimately comes down to the brand.

“That’s a decision for every brand to make but I will say this: if you want to position yourself as a progressive organisation that is inclusive, and if you want to appeal to people who have a sense of tolerance and social justice, then I do think it’s important [that brands take a harder stance].”

Ryan Storr, co-found of Proud2Play, a Not For Profit focusing on increasing LGBTI+ engagement in sport, exercise and active recreation, said as a sponsor of RA, Qantas did the right thing by condemning Folau’s act, saying it “sent a strong message”.

He added: “I think by Qantas setting a precedence and a strong message shows other sport sponsors that ultimately engaging with LGBTQI+ inclusion is good for business, and if you engage within the other side, it’s bad for business and will affect customers and the bottom line.”

When asked if sponsors need to take a harder stance on misbehaving athletes, Storr believed they did, saying people inarguably associate players with an organisation.

“I think they do need to take a stronger stance. While Israel Folau can’t be reflective of the organisation, sponsors need to be careful because people do associate them with [athletes] so they have to think while they might not be sponsoring a player, a player’s actions do reflect the organisation by default.”

If Folau wins his case against Rugby Australia, its sponsors will arguably need to take a hard look at their continued sponsorship and support of RA, and ultimately its players and their actions.

As Storr said, it’s simply bad for business to engage with discriminatory and homophobic behaviour, even if it’s not coming directly from RA itself.

ARL commission chairman Peter Beattie has already said he would not welcome Folau back to rugby league if he fails to win the case.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising brand sponsorship israel folau

Latest News

IDC And Data.ai Study Shows Mobile Vs. Console Gamer Gap Is Getting Even Bigger
  • Technology

IDC And Data.ai Study Shows Mobile Vs. Console Gamer Gap Is Getting Even Bigger

data.ai (formerly App Annie), the first unified data ai company, today in partnership with IDC, released the Gaming Spotlight 2022 report. Powered by Game IQ, the report reveals that mobile gaming represents 61 percent of the overall gaming market which is set to hit $222 billion in 2022. The report reveals that mobile gaming is […]

Nielsen Teams Up With TikTok To Unleash Greater Potential On Worldwide Marketing Insights
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Nielsen Teams Up With TikTok To Unleash Greater Potential On Worldwide Marketing Insights

Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics, has been selected to participate in TikTok’s Media Mix Modelling Program. TikTok’s program brings together leaders in media mix model marketing measurement to drive reporting consistency and quality for advertisers globally, allowing advertisers to gain more insights into the impact of marketing on the short-form […]

Emplifi First Quarter Report Shows Investments On Ads Are Up But User Engagement Is Flatlining
  • Marketing

Emplifi First Quarter Report Shows Investments On Ads Are Up But User Engagement Is Flatlining

Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience (CX) platform, today revealed the findings of its Q1 2022 analysis of social media spend across thousands of brands worldwide including those in Asia Pacific (APAC). While overall social media ad spend decreased in the first quarter following an impressive holiday showing, it remains significantly higher than a year […]

WPP’s Wavemaker Snares Audible’s $700 Million Media In Global Win
  • Media

WPP’s Wavemaker Snares Audible’s $700 Million Media In Global Win

Audible, a leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, today announced that Wavemaker will be its new agency of record  for paid media worldwide, effective May 25th, 2022. Audible reportedly spends about $US500 million annually on advertising and a reported $A50 million here in Australia. Audible, an Amazon company, is headquartered in Newark, New […]

Bohemia Australia Nabs Paul Hutchison From Wavemaker UK For CEO Role
  • Media

Bohemia Australia Nabs Paul Hutchison From Wavemaker UK For CEO Role

Paul Hutchison (lead image) will become CEO of Bohemia Australia, after four years as CEO of Wavemaker UK. Hutchison’s appointment comes after a global search to replace Bohemia founder and CEO, Brett Dawson, who announced his plans in March to take on a broader remit within the AUNZ Group. Hutch, as he is known, will […]

Ogilvy Unveils NSW Government’s Latest COVID PSA “Little Things”
  • Campaigns

Ogilvy Unveils NSW Government’s Latest COVID PSA “Little Things”

Ogilvy’s latest campaign for the NSW Government, “Little Things”, dramatises the idea of the little things that everyone should be doing to make a big difference to COVID safe life this winter. The OLV, social, radio, digital and OOH campaign was brought to life by creating miniature worlds, where COVID safety objects became the hero […]

Reconciliation Australia Launches National Reconciliation Week Campaign Via Carbon Creative
  • Campaigns

Reconciliation Australia Launches National Reconciliation Week Campaign Via Carbon Creative

Reconciliation Australia and Carbon Creative will launch National Reconciliation Week 2022 tomorrow, Friday, 27 May (running through to 3 June) with the theme ‘Be brave. Make change.’ The theme and campaign, developed by social change creative agency Carbon Creative in collaboration with emerging Torres Strait Visual Artist Tori-Jay Mordey, challenges all Australians—individuals, families, communities, organisations, […]

Pearman Media Appoints Tara Lamond As Group Business Director
  • Media

Pearman Media Appoints Tara Lamond As Group Business Director

Pearman Media has announced the appointment of Tara Lamond as group business director. “With experience on both the media and agency sides, including a stint in London, Tara brings a wealth of advertising and media expertise to this role, and we are thrilled to welcome her on board,” said Pearman Media founder and managing director, […]

Beyond the Rainbow: How Brands Can Better Connect with LGBTQIA+ Consumers All Year Round
  • Opinion

Beyond the Rainbow: How Brands Can Better Connect with LGBTQIA+ Consumers All Year Round

In this guest post, Jonathan Munschi (pictured below), head of sales for Twitter Australia, says initiatives such as Mardi Gras and Pride month give brands the ideal platform to connect with the LGBTQIA+, but, Munschi asks, why ignore the rest of the year? It’s time for brands to rethink their approach to LGBTQIA+ inclusive marketing. […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Today Is National Sorry Day
  • Media

Today Is National Sorry Day

B&T would like to take time out from the usual programming to acknowledge National Sorry Day today.

‘The Sims 4’ Now Lets You Use Your Own Pronouns For Your Characters
  • Technology

‘The Sims 4’ Now Lets You Use Your Own Pronouns For Your Characters

The latest entry in EA and Maxis’ life simulation series, The Sims 4, has released a new update which allows players to customise their character’s pronouns. This new feature is available only in the English version of the game for the time being, with the developers saying that they will soon release it for other […]

Former Havas Head Of CX Michaela Aguilar Joins Martech Firm Acoustic
  • Technology

Former Havas Head Of CX Michaela Aguilar Joins Martech Firm Acoustic

Acoustic, a marketing cloud, digital experience and lifecycle pricing and promotion technology solution provider, announced today that Michaela Aguilar has joined the team as head of business partnership ecosystem. In her new role, Aguilar will be responsible for business development and expansion, working with partners and the Acoustic team to create new revenue opportunities in […]

Bastion Asia Solidifies Its Strategic Partnership With Adventi, Shanghai
  • Marketing

Bastion Asia Solidifies Its Strategic Partnership With Adventi, Shanghai

Asian marketing communications agency Bastion Asia has announced a strategic partnership with one of Shanghai’s leading PR agencies, Adventi, to drive greater digital and marketing innovation for Australian brands seeking to engage with Chinese audiences. Adventi, a marketing and communications agency specialising in luxury brands, is known for bringing some of Europe’s biggest luxury brands […]

Engine Creative Brings Innovation To The Lost Person Poster Using Modern Day Technology
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Engine Creative Brings Innovation To The Lost Person Poster Using Modern Day Technology

Engine Creative has reinvented the missing person poster – re-thinking the standard design and introducing a high-impact live portrait – for UK charity Missing People to coincide with International Missing Children’s Day. The striking, high-tech digital posters show a ‘live’ image of the missing person appearing to move their eyes, smile and make facial expressions. […]

LinkedIn Puts The Spotlight On Indigenous Australians In The Workplace With New Campaign By Campfire X For Reconciliation Week
  • Campaigns

LinkedIn Puts The Spotlight On Indigenous Australians In The Workplace With New Campaign By Campfire X For Reconciliation Week

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has today launched the latest iteration of its #ConversationsForChange initiative with a new content series in partnership with Indigenous-led creative consultancy, Campfire X. The three-part series, titled ‘Change Starts With’, aims to highlight the often subtle, everyday moments that can impact Indigenous Australians in the workplace. The campaign encourages […]