The Sydney Morning Herald seemingly threatened to out Rebel Wilson before she made her relationship public

The Sydney Morning Herald is under fire for attempting to out Rebel’s new relationship with a woman without her consent.
June 13, 2022 2:24 p.m. EST
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If it wasn’t already clear, you shouldn’t mess with actor and comedian Rebel Wilson. Yes, she’s a nunchuck pro. Yes, she’s a bona fide lawyer. And yes, she will not be shamed into revealing personal details about her private relationships, because if you try to out her, she will scoop you.

Over the weekend, a columnist at The Sydney Morning Herald published a gossip column about the Hustle actress, writing that he discovered Rebel was in her first relationship with a woman after years of dating men, and that he had given her a deadline of two days to respond to his inquiries before outing her in the paper.

But Rebel being a, err, rebel, decided she wasn’t getting outed on another person’s terms, insteading opting to post a picture of her and her girlfriend Ramona Agruma to her official Instagram, captioning it, “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess 💗🌈💗#loveislove”

That annoyed SMH columnist Andrew Hornery wrote of the situation: “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. Big mistake. Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new ‘Disney Princess’ on Instagram.”

Hornery then audaciously complained about being scooped by Rebel, adding in his column, “Considering how bitterly Wilson had complained about poor journalism standards when she successfully sued Woman’s Day for defamation, her choice to ignore our discreet, genuine and honest queries was, in our view, underwhelming."

Hornery then wrote some contradictory comments about queerphobia and online hate directed at the LGBtQ+ community, writing that coming out isn’t a big deal, and that Rebel surely won’t endure any homophobic attacks due her history of dating men.

“This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationship, at age 42 and in an era when same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world and — thanks to decades of battling for equality — sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden, even in Hollywood,” he wrote.

The article in question has since been removed from the SMH website. Now, it redirects to a mea culpa from Hornery who says he has learned from his mistakes in publishing the opinion piece. “My email was never intended to be a threat but to make it clear I was sufficiently confident with my information and to open a conversation,” he wrote. “It is not the Herald’s business to ‘out’ people and that is not what we set out to do. But I understand why my email has been seen as a threat. The framing of it was a mistake.”

That hasn’t stopped an entire hailstorm of criticism on social media as users and fans tackle the subject of outing celebrities, and how the very homophobia that Hornery says Rebel wouldn’t encounter was an entire exercise in homophobia.

As all of this happened during Pride Month, it noticeably has hit differently, as even Rebel herself posted a statement about how “hard” the experience has been for her, but how she’s trying to take the high road.

“Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace 💗,” the Pitch Perfect actor wrote on Twitter on June 12 in response to a user who expressed how shocking the situation was. 

Despite Hornery’s written apology, the SMH posted a note from its editor Bevan Shields over the weekend, denying that the column was an attempt to out Rebel. 

“To say that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson is wrong,” Shields published on June 12. “Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response. 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.”

He ended his statement by wishing both Rebel and Ramona well, but it’s not sitting well with readers. 

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