Billy Vunipola Axed By Broadcaster Following Controversial Israel Folau Post
England international Billy Vunipola has been axed by Channel 4 after he came out on social media and backed Israel Folau following the Australian’s controversial homophobic post.
The outspoken Super Rugby star posted an image on Instagram earlier this week “warning” all homosexuals that hell “awaits” them unless they “repent.”
Folau’s career now hangs in the balance with Rugby Australia revealing they intend on terminating his contract. His actions have largely been condemned, but Vunipola decided to get behind Folau yesterday with a post on Instagram of his own.
Both his club Saracens and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have condemned his actions. The RFU released the following statement:
“Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views. We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts.” an RFU spokeswoman said
Saracens meanwhile released the following:
“Saracens proudly embraces diversity and warmly welcomes everyone to the Club regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.”
“Our sport is open to all and we strive for it to be free from all forms of discrimination. We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility.
“As representatives and role models, Saracens players have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the Club and wider society. Billy Vunipola’s recent social media posts are inconsistent with this and we take this matter very seriously. It will be handled internally.”
And now Channel 4, who use Vunipola along with a number of other stars to promote their coverage of the Champions Cup with behind-the-scenes videos, have revealed they will no longer be employing the number eight.
“These views are incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster and in light of this Billy Vunipola won’t be used as a contributor in Channel 4’s rugby coverage.” a Channel 4 spokesman said