The Sydney Morning Herald has denied a wave of criticism alleging that the Australian publication pressured Rebel Wilson into outing herself as LGBTQ by giving her a two-day deadline to comment on her current relationship, which she had not yet discussed publicly.
On Sunday morning, Wilson seemed to corroborate that the Herald’s contact with her was not appropriate, responding to a post on Twitter that stated that the Herald “admitted to giving her a heads up 2 days in advance that they were going to ‘out’ her.”
“Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace,” Wilson wrote.
Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace 💗
— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) June 12, 2022
Sydney Morning Herald editor Bevan Shields provided a statement on the matter Sunday morning, saying that “to say that the Herald ‘outed’ Rebel Wilson is wrong.”
“Our weekly Private Sydney celebrity column asked Wilson if she wished to comment about her new partner. We would have asked the same questions had Wilson’s new partner been a man,” Shields wrote. “Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked the questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response.”
“We made no decision about whether or what to publish, and our decision about what to do would have been informed by any response Wilson supplied,” Shields continued. “Wilson made the decision to publicly disclose her new partner – who had been a feature of her social media accounts for months. We wish them both well.”
Wilson publicly came out through a post on her Instagram Thursday, sharing a photograph of herself with her girlfriend, Ramona Agruma. “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess,” she wrote in the caption.
On Saturday, two days after Wilson came out, the Sydney Morning Herald published a column by journalist Andrew Hornery entitled “Rebel starts spreading the news of relationship,” detailing the publication’s process of reaching out to Wilson and “giving her two days to comment on her new relationship… before publishing a single word.”
“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 wrote. “Who anyone dates is their business, but Wilson happily fed such prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm.”
The column was met with a wave of backlash from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community under the impression that the Herald’s deadline had forced Wilson to disclose her sexuality publicly without having the chance to do so at a time chosen at her own discretion.
On Monday, Hornery published another column after his previous article was removed from the Herald’s website. In the new piece, entitled “I made mistakes over Rebel Wilson, and will learn from them,” Hornery apologized for the original piece and if his contact with Wilson pressured the actress to come out.