Rebel Wilson: Newspaper takes down article that 'outed' LGBT actress

The Sydney Morning Herald has removed a column and apologised for reporting the actor's new relationship

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The Sydney Morning Herald has removed a column about Australian actor Rebel Wilson's new relationship, issuing an article of apology in the wake of her announcement.

The Bridesmaids star shared a photo of herself with partner Romana Agruma on Instagram, 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 #loveislove."

A story published in the Sydney Morning Herald, written by columnist Andrew Hornery described how Ms Wilson had supposedly "ignored" their requests for comment about the relationship earlier in the week and instead revealed her news herself.

Mr Hornery has apologised following the publication of the piece, admitting he made mistakes in his approach to the reporting.

Columnist Andrew Hornery described how Ms Wilson had supposedly "ignored" their request for comment on her sexuality
Columnist Andrew Hornery described how Ms Wilson had supposedly "ignored" their request for comment on her sexuality

The columnist complained on Saturday about being "gazumped" by Ms Wilson's relationship with Ramona Agruma.

Mr Hornery wrote a new column on Monday acknowledging his mistake and his insensitive approach to the announcement, adding how he would take an alternative approach in the future.

The column, which surfaced on Saturday, has since been removed and replaced with a new one.

In a letter to readers on Monday, the Herald's editor, Bevan Shields, said the newspaper did not out Ms Wilson, but “simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response”.

Critics have slammed the Herald for their pressing nature towards Ms Wilson's sexuality.

Actress Rebel Wilson announced her relationship with Ramona Agruma in an instagram post on Friday
Actress Rebel Wilson announced her relationship with Ramona Agruma in an instagram post on Friday

Nicky Bath, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia's Chief Executive Officer, said Ms Wilson was put in an "appalling situation" when the Herald pressed her for a comment regarding her relationship status.

Ms Bath added how the process of revealing and acknowledging your sexuality is an intense and personal time.

She added: "They are personal decisions.

"Who you disclose to first, how you do that, and when you do that.

"When people do come out, the important issue is that they have made the decision to do so, and have the right support around them to go public on an important part of their life.

“To have pressure put on you to come out is really unhelpful, and will impact on [people’s] mental health."

Mr Hornery wrote that the paper had emailed Wilson’s representatives on Thursday morning, “giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma”.

“Big mistake,” Hornery wrote. “Wilson opted to gazump the story.”

He added how “who anyone dates is their business”, but that Ms Wilson “happily fed such prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm”.

The actress would be unlikely to have experienced homophobia, he wrote, and “sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden”.

Referencing the situation in a tweet on Sunday, the actress said it was a "very hard situation" and she was trying to handle the outcome with grace.

In his new column on Monday, Mr Hornery wrote how he regretted the pain he had inflicted on the actress, adding how he was aware of the pain and discrimination as he himself was a gay man.

He thought Wilson would be happy to discuss her new love, but “we mishandled steps in our approach”, he added.