Australian newspaper apologizes over actor Rebel Wilson ‘outing’ scandal
Sydney, Australia, Jun 13 (EFE).- An Australian newspaper on Monday apologized to actor Rebel Wilson over an article about her romantic relationship with a woman but denied having pressured her to make the relationship public.
Sydney Morning Herald columnist Andrew Hornery said Monday that he “mishandled steps in our approach” of a piece published Saturday about Wilson’s relationship with designer Ramona Agruma.
Hornery added that, after learning about the relationship, he sent questions to the actress and gave her two days to answer them, which some have seen as a form of pressure.
The journalist has insisted that his intention was not to pressure her to confirm the relationship and that “it is standard procedure to set out the timeframe.”
According to Hornery, he never received a reply to his email.
“It is not the Herald’s business to ‘out’ people and that is not what we set out to do,” the journalist added. “But I understand why my email has been seen as a threat. The framing of it was a mistake.”
The article has since been removed from the newspaper’s website and replaced with an apology to the actress for mishandling the matter.
On Friday 10 June, Wilson made her relationship public by posting a photo alongside Agruma with the caption: “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess.”
The following day, Hornery wrote that the Sydney Morning Herald had known about the relationship and had contacted Wilson to comment on the story.
The article sparked a wave of outrage among LGBT groups who accused the newspaper and the columnist of pressuring the actress and outing her.
Amid the outcry, the Sydney Morning Herald withdrew Saturday’s article on Monday and published an apology piece where Hornery wrote:
“I genuinely regret that Rebel has found this hard. That was never my intention. But I see she has handled it all with extraordinary grace. As a gay man I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts. The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else.”
In 2017 Wilson won a defamation trial against Bauer Media over publications in Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly that claimed the Pitch Perfect (2012) and The Hustle (2019) star had lied about her real name, age and childhood. EFE