Rebel Wilson: Sydney Morning Herald Removes Column and Apologizes for Covering Actor’s New Relationship | Rebel Wilson

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Sydney Morning Herald columnist Andrew Hornery has admitted he made mistakes in his approach to Australian actor Rebel Wilson’s new relationship, her first with a woman.

After complaining on Saturday about being alerted to a story about Wilson’s new partner Ramona Agruma, Hornery has penned a new column apologizing for his reaction and saying he’s taking a different approach from now on will pursue. The Saturday column has been removed and replaced with the new one.

The Herald made mistakes with Rebel Wilson and will learn from them. Saturday’s article has been retracted and Andrew Hornery details what we didn’t get here https://t.co/jrnBpbJ4ne

— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) June 13, 2022

An email he wrote that gave Wilson two days to respond to his plans to write about the relationship wasn’t a threat, he wrote, but he can now understand why it was viewed as one will.

Monday’s apology column followed public backlash against the SMH for its approach to the story.

The Hollywood star announced on Friday that she was in a relationship with US fashion designer Agruma, prompting a flood of congratulations. But controversy erupted after the Herald reported on Saturday that it had contacted her on Thursday to tell the story.

In a note to readers Monday, Herald editor Bevan Shields said the newspaper had not outed Wilson, but “simply asked questions and set a default deadline for a response.” ABC radio host Rafael Epstein called it “disingenuous.”

“Oh, we’re just asking the questions…”

What exactly do you think she would have been thinking when you asked the questions?

Insincere

Low rental behavior

How would these journalists and editors feel if asked these questions about their personal lives? pic.twitter.com/9MivpB1E1L

— Raf Epstein (@Raf_Epstein) June 12, 2022

Nicky Bath, chief executive officer of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, said Wilson found himself in “an appalling situation” when the Herald contacted her about their new relationship.

Bath said there was a process people went through to reveal their sexuality and it was a very personal and vulnerable time.

“These are personal choices,” she said. “Who do you tell first, how you do this and when you do this.

“The important issue when people come out is that they have made the decision and have the right support around them to go public with an important part of their lives.

“It really isn’t helpful to put pressure on you to come out and it will affect you [people’s] Mental health.”

On Friday morning, Wilson posted on Instagram using the hashtag #loveislove that she thought she was “looking for a Disney prince.”

“But maybe I really needed a Disney princess all the time,” she wrote.

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On Saturday, Hornery wrote that the newspaper emailed Wilson’s reps Thursday morning, giving her “two days to comment on her new relationship with LA casual wear designer Ramona Agruma.”

“Big mistake,” Hornery wrote. “Wilson chose to look at history.”

He wrote that “who a person dates is their business,” but that Wilson “happily nurtured such a lecherous interest when she had a handsome boyfriend on her arm.” Wilson was unlikely to have experienced homophobia, he wrote, and “sexual orientation is no longer something to hide.”

On Sunday, Wilson said on Twitter it was a “very difficult situation” that she would try to handle with grace.

Read the news about @RebelWilson and their terrible dealings with an Australian newspaper remind me exactly of the situation with our Steo and the Sun newspaper in the UK. How is that possible today? Rebel I hope you are well and have the strength and love to rise up. X

— Ronan Keating (@ronanofficial) June 11, 2022

In his new column, Hornery wrote that as a gay man he was aware of the pain of discrimination and that he regretted that “Rebel found that hard”.

He thought Wilson would love to talk about her new love, but “we mismanaged steps in our approach,” he wrote.

Emailing Wilson’s rep last week, he said he had “enough details to go public with the story.”

“However, in the interests of transparency and fairness, I am reaching out to Rebel prior to publication to see if they embark on what I believe is happy and unexpected news for them, especially given the recent Pride celebrations,” he wrote. “My deadline is Friday 1pm Sydney time.”

This framing was a mistake, Hornery wrote on Monday. “The Herald and I will be doing things differently from now on, to ensure we always consider the added layer of complexity people face when it comes to their sexuality.”

He also acknowledged that the audio of his Saturday column was “off.” “I got it wrong,” he said.

Thank you for your comments, it was a very difficult situation but I tried to handle it with grace 💗

— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) June 12, 2022

Shields wrote that the newspaper would have asked the same question if Wilson’s new partner had been a man. Shields said he made no decision as to whether or what he would publish, but that any decision would have been informed by a response from Wilson.

“This was not a standard news story,” he wrote. “We wish Wilson and Agruma all the best.”

Bath said while society may consider “everything is fine” for LGBTQ+ people, the reality is that “homophobia is alive and well in Australia”.

“It’s really disappointing to find ourselves in this situation in 2022 when we know that LGBTIQ+ people have elevated rates of mental health [issues],” She said.

She said coming out should be a joyful time for people to speak out about who they are and that process for Wilson has been “clouded” by the Herald. She referred to the Australian Press Council’s standards of practice relating to the need for respect and consent when discussing a person’s sexual or gender identity.

Bewan
Your newspaper has no God-given right to know about anyone’s private life
I do not claim to speak on behalf of Rebel Wilson
But for LGBTQIA+ people, the fallout from what is nothing more than a hissing fit about who gets to print gossip can be devastating https://t.co/mzrpHTsoU5

— Magda Szubanski AO (@MagdaSzubanski) June 13, 2022

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