Newspaper Apologizes for Report on Rebel Wilson's Same-Sex Relationship

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday June 13, 2022

Rebel Wilson and Ramona Agruma
Rebel Wilson and Ramona Agruma  (Source:Rebel Wilson/Instagram)

Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald has apologized for the way it handled a report around Rebel Wilson's relationship with another woman, UK newspaper The Guardian reported.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist columnist Andrew Hornery had reached out with an email on June 9, saying he intended to write about Wilson's relationship with Los Angeles-based fashion designer Ramona Agruma, asking for comment from the star, and giving notice that the deadline for filing the story was fast approaching.

But Wilson chose not to give her story to the newspaper, instead breaking the story herself on social media.

As EDGE readers know, the "Bridesmaids" star made the announcement in a post in which she wrote, "I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince... but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess."

The Sydney Morning Herald sparked a backlash against itself when Hornery detailed in a June 11 opinion piece titled "Rebel starts spreading the news of relationship" (now taken down) how, after he had sent the email seeking a comment and referring to a deadline, Wilson had "opted to gazump the story, posting about her new 'Disney Princess,'" instead of giving the paper the scoop.

Hornery added that Wilson "happily fed such prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm," The Guardian detailed.

But social media users noted that, given the email Hornery sent, Wilson may not have felt she had a choice as to how, when, or whether to come out publicly.

Wilson herself seemed to indicate that the Sydney Morning Herald's actions had forced her hand. Journalist Kate Doak tweeted that "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." Wilson replied to that tweet, People Magazine reported, responding, "Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace."

The editor of the paper, Bevan Shields, posted a June 12 tweet in which he noted that Hornery's column had "been retracted," and the columnist had written a new piece in which he went "into detail... about what we didn't get right".

In the followup column, titled "I made mistakes over Rebel Wilson, and will learn from them," Hornery wrote, "I genuinely regret that Rebel has found this hard. That was never my intention. But I see she has handled it all with extraordinary grace."

"As a gay man I'm well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts. The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else."

"But we mishandled steps in our approach," he went on to write. In the piece he clarified that, "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."

Shields then followed up with a June 13 item that said the Herald "would have asked the same questions had Wilson's new partner been a man," and added: "To say that the Herald 'outed' Wilson is wrong."

Social media users weren't buying that, with radio personality Raf Epstein slamming the newspaper's "low rent behavior".

Others chimed in, as well:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.