Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald has decided to apologize after a storm of outrage on social media accused the newspaper of pressuring actress Rebel Wilson into disclosing her relationship with a woman.
Socialite columnist Andrew Hornery admitted an awkwardness in his paper’s approach when trying to exclusively reveal that Ms Wilson, who until then had only had relationships with men, was in a relationship with designer Ramona Agruma.
The SMH, often considered Australia’s leading newspaper, gave the actress two days on Thursday to discuss their relationship, which was previously unknown to the general public.
But Ms Wilson, revealed in the ‘Pitch Perfect’ saga, went further and announced their relationship on Instagram on Friday, posting a selfie with Ms Agruma, who she dubbed his ‘Disney princess’.
“Big mistake. Wilson chose to torpedo the article by posting about his new ‘Disney princess’ on Instagram early Friday morning,” Mr. Hornery ranted in his weekly column on Saturday, revealing he intended the to spill news.
The article sparked outrage on social media. Many LGBT activists and other netizens accused the newspaper of forcing Ms Wilson to come out.
The Herald initially denied any pressure on Mrs Wilson, its editor Bevan Shields asserting that the journalist “only asked questions,” the same ones he would have asked if Wilson’s new companion had been a man”.
Ms Wilson responded on Sunday to a journalist who tweeted outrage at SMH’s position.
“It was a very difficult situation but I tried to handle it gracefully,” the actress tweeted.
On Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald removed the article from its website and published Mr Hornery’s apology to the actress. The journalist assures that his questions “were never intended to threaten her” to make revelations about her sexuality.
The columnist says: “I sincerely regret that Rebel has had a hard time. It was never my intention.” He concedes that the newspaper “mismanaged the steps of our process.”