Billy Vunipola: England rugby player dropped by Channel 4 after defending Israel Folau's homophobic comments

Sports Staff
The Independent

Billy Vunipola has been dropped as the face of Channel 4’s European rugby coverage after defending Israel Folau‘s homophobic and hateful social media post.

A Channel 4 spokesman said on Friday: ”These views are incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster. In light of this Billy Vunipola will not be used as a contributor in Channel 4’s coverage.”

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The 26-year-old is set to meet with the Rugby Football Union over his support for Folau, who claimed on Wednesday that “Hell awaits” for “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, and Atheists” in a religious-based tirade.

READ MORE: Rugby Australia set to terminate Israel Folau's contract over social media post

It is the second time that Folau has posted anti-gay comments on social media in the space of a year, and has resulted in Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union issuing their intention to terminate his contract.

Folau finally met with RA officials on Friday but the governing body issued a new statement to insist that their “joint position remains unchanged”.

After liking Folau’s Instagram post, England regular Vunipola issued a lengthy comment of his own to defend his own actions in doing so, and also Folau for expressing his religious beliefs.

“So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzyfolau post,” said Vunipola.

“This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect. There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough, what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people. He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be.

An RFU spokeswoman said: “Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views. We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts.”

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