'How can this be possible today?' Supporters unite around Rebel Wilson

‘How can this be possible today?’ Supporters unite around Rebel Wilson

Wilson

Last week’s ‘coming out’ declaration made by Rebel Wilson on her Instagram post has been marred by revelations her decision may not have been entirely up to her.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s gossip columnist Andrew Hornery had warned Wilson in an email two days before her public announcement, that he was going to publish a piece on her relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma.

Hornery followed up by writing a day after Wilson’s Instagram post, accusing Wilson of going public to “gazump” a story he had planned to write on her relationship.

“It was with an abundance of caution and respect that this media outlet emailed Rebel Wilson’s representatives on Thursday morning, giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma, before publishing a single word,” Hornery explained in his Saturday post, which has since been taken off the Herald’s site.

“Big mistake. Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new ‘Disney Princess’ on Instagram early Friday morning, the same platform she had previously used to brag about her handsome ex-boyfriend, wealthy American beer baron Jacob Busch,” referencing Jacob Busch, a descendant of the family that founded the American brewing company, Anheuser-Busch.

“In a perfect world, “outing” same-sex celebrity relationships should be a redundant concept in 2022. Love is love, right?”

“As Rebel Wilson knows, we do not live in a perfect world,” he wrote in his “Private Sydney” celebrity column.

The columnist went on to say that Wilson’s “choice” to ignore his queries was “underwhelming” given how she’s complained about poor journalism standards in the past, including by successfully suing Women’s Day.

Hornery revealed that he emailed Wilson’s management on Thursday morning, asking whether she wanted to comment on the relationship, giving them a deadline of 1 p.m. Friday and adding that he had secured numerous sources who had confirmed the relationship, but that he wanted a comment from Wilson “in the interests of transparency and fairness.”

On Monday, Hornery published an apology, replacing the original story with another titled “I made mistakes over Rebel Wilson, and will learn from them” and noting his column from Saturday had been deleted.

“I genuinely regret that Rebel has found this hard,” he wrote, responding to a tweet which Wilson had posted where she said it was “a very hard situation” but that she was “trying to handle it with grace”.

“That was never my intention,” Hornery wrote. “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 trying to tell the story within the story, which is what Private Sydney does, the tone of my column on Saturday was also off.”

https://twitter.com/meghamohan/status/1535597084589670400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1535597084589670400%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Fnews%2F2022-06-13%2Frebel-wilson-sydney-morning-herald-andrew-hornery-column%2F101147322 

“I got it wrong. I allowed my disappointment to cast a shadow over the piece. That was not fair and I apologise.”

On Sunday, the Herald’s editor Bevan Shields tweeted a link to Hornery’s apology, adding his own take on the situation in an op ed where he claims “To say that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson is wrong.”

“Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response,” he wrote.

“I had made no decision about whether or what to publish, and the Herald’s decision about what to do would have been informed by any response Wilson supplied.

“Wilson made the decision to publicly disclose her new partner — who had been a feature of her social media accounts for months.”

Needless to day, Honery and his masthead have copped serious backlash for publishing the story, with many taking to social media to criticise the paper, even threatening to cancel subscriptions.

The disgust has gone international, with numerous celebrity Wilson supporters declaring their disgust at the handling of the situation.

Fellow actor and Bridesmaids’ co-star, Matt Lucas tweeted, “Coming out is often a long, scary process, with many beats. Self-realisation, telling friends & family, a first relationship.”

“I thought the press forcing people to out themselves, regardless of whether or not they were ready, was a thing of the past. I must have been mistaken.”

Pop sensation Ronan Keating tweeted his support, writing: “Reading the news about @RebelWilson and her horrible dealings with an Australian paper reminds me exactly of the situation with our Steo and the sun newspaper in the UK.”

“How can this be possible today? Rebel I hope you are ok and you have the strength and love to rise above. X”

Reporter Megha Mohan tweeted, “I’ve just read this @smh piece 3 times to make sure that I wasn’t misreading.”

“The publication messaged Rebel Wilson saying they would out her in 2 days – and is now complaining that she chose to announce her relationship with a woman herself. Quite astonishing.”

Meanwhile, femicide researcher and journalist Sherele Moody tweeted, “The worst thing about the outing of @RebelWilson is that a gay man decided it was his job to screw over a queer woman.”

“I can say as a queer woman, misogyny is rife in the gay male community. So it’s not a surprise a gay man had the temerity to do this.”

Spokeswoman for the Washington D.C based National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force, Cathy Renna told the New York Times that “not coming out on one’s own terms can be challenging personally and professionally, even when it is a positive, celebratory, inspirational act, as Wilson’s coming-out post was to so many.”

“While we see a generation of young people — and most people — cheer and then go about their lives when a celebrity comes out, we know there is still anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiment and reaction that can impact our lives in many ways,” Renna said.

Aryn Fields, a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign, agreed, saying that the decision to come out “is a deeply personal choice.”

“Each of us deserves the opportunity to come out on our own terms — and, if that wasn’t true for Rebel Wilson, it should have been,” Fields told the Times.

Monash University’s law Professor and LGBTQI expert, Paula Gerber said outing someone can have a profound and lifelong impact on their lives.

“For the SMH to claim that ‘We would have asked the same questions had Wilson’s new partner been a man’ demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about the discrimination and persecution that LGBTIQA+ people have faced historically, and continue to face today,” Professor Gerber said.

“Using someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity to point score or get ‘clicks’ became de rigueur under the previous federal government.”

“I hope that the media will follow suit and reconsider how they engage with the community and report on LGBTQIA+ issues. All people have a right to privacy, and that privacy includes if, when and how to disclose their sexual orientation.”


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