An Australian newspaper columnist has apologised to Rebel Wilson after being accused of threatening to 'out' her – just hours before she went public with her new female partner.
Andrew Hornery, who pens the Private Sydney Column at the Sydney Morning Herald, originally reached out to the actress' representatives on Thursday enquiring about the 42-year-old's new relationship.
As is standard industry practice, he added in that his deadline for a response was Friday at 1pm.
He received no reply to his enquiry, but on Friday, as WH reported, the 42-year-old posted a snap to Instagram of herself with LA-based designer Romana Agruma, publicly announcing that the pair were in a romantic relationship.
The image was posted in the early hours of Friday morning, Sydney time.
To caption the post, Wilson wrote: ' I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess.' She added in a rainbow emoji, and the hashtag #loveislove.
Hours later, Hornery posted a column in which he claimed that he had known about the pair being a couple before Wilson made the news public. He said that he had been set to publish a piece about this, and had given the star 1.5 days to provide a comment for the story stating that the star had 'gazumped' his scoop, by sharing the news on her own terms.
So apparently it wasn't @RebelWilson's choice to come out... The @smh/@theage have admitted to giving her a heads up 2 days in advance that they were going to "out" her. What's worse, openly gay men at the Sydney Morning Herald were involved in this. 🤦🏼♀️ https://t.co/Zl80zg01SW
— Kate Doak (@katedoak) June 11, 2022
This resulted in waves of backlash on social media, with LGBTQ+ campaigners stating that it is incredibly harmful to put pressure on someone to 'come out', and that the writer being frustrated that Rebel took control of the announcement is unacceptable.
Rebel has also commented, replying to a journalist on Twitter that 'it was a very hard situation but [I'm] trying to handle it with grace.'
The newspaper's initial response was that it had not threatened to 'out' the actress, and that it had 'simply asked questions.'
However on Monday 13 June, Hornery published a new column, in which he stated that he 'made mistakes' over his handling of the issue, writing that: 'As a gay man I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts.' He pasted the email which he had sent to Wilson's management, in which he said that he 'had enough detail to publish' a story about her relationship.
He went on to write: '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,' adding that, as a result, the publication would be taking down his initial column, and would replace it with this new one.
Hornery also said that 'The Herald and I will approach things differently from now on to make sure we always take into consideration the extra layer of complexities people face when it comes to their sexuality.'
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