Why Rebel Wilson’s coming out post wasn’t the fairytale moment everyone thought it was

An Australian newspaper has been accused of placing pressure on the Bridesmaids star to come out after an op-ed published on Saturday revealed the paper knew about the relationship and had reached out to Wilson for comment.

A columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald has apologised after social media users and LGBTQ+ rights groups accused the paper of pressuring the actor Rebel Wilson to come out.

The internet was abuzz with excitement last week after Wilson took to Instagram to reveal her relationship with fashion designer Romana Agruma, describing her as a ‘Disney Princess’ and using the hashtag #LoveIsLove.

However, in an op-ed published by the columnist Andrew Hornery on Saturday, it emerged that the Sydney Morning Herald had known about the actor’s relationship prior to her post and given her 48 hours to provide comment for a potential story.  

Hornery also used the op-ed – which has since been removed – to complain about Wilson’s decision to come out on Instagram, suggesting he had been “gazumped” by the actor.

Unsurprisingly, this turn of events proved incredibly controversial – with the paper and Hornery’s behaviour attracting widespread criticism online over the weekend.

Indeed, speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall condemned the paper’s approach: “Coming out is a deeply personal decision. Whether, when and how to come out should be decided by the individual, entirely on their terms,” they said.

“It is simply not OK to ‘out’ LGBTQ+ people or put pressure on us to come out. Media outlets should take care not to sensationalise LGBTQ+ lives and relationships.” 

Initially, the paper doubled down on its defence, with the paper’s editor Bevan Shields publishing a piece on Sunday (12 June) in which he said the paper “simply asked questions” and did not out the star. However, in a new op-ed published today (13 June), Hornery admitted that he made “mistakes” in the way he handled the story – and apologised for getting the tone of his Saturday column wrong. 

“I have learnt some new and difficult lessons from this and want to be upfront with you about the things I got wrong,” he wrote. “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.”

While Wilson has not released a full statement about the events which led to her coming out, she has acknowledged the outrage which has been circulating online.

Responding to a tweet about the paper’s handling of the story, the Bridesmaids star wrote: “Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace.” 

For advice, information and support on coming out, you can visit the Stonewall website.

Image: Getty

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