The Sydney Morning Herald continues to deny the allegations of pressuring Rebel Wilson into revealing her relationship with a woman. The controversy began when the newspaper reported that it was aware of the relation and had approached Wilson, wanting to do the story before anyone else.
Two days after the 42-year-old actress made the announcement on her Instagram, the Herald's columnist Andrew Hornery wrote about the entire process of contacting her representatives on Thursday via email and giving her "two days" to comment. The column was titled "Rebel starts spreading the news of relationship."
"In a perfect world, 'outing' same-sex celebrity relationships should be a redundant concept in 2022. Love is love, right?" Hornery wrote.
A Twitter user ignited the controversy when they accused the newspaper of giving the actress a deadline before they disclosed her sexuality publicly. Wilson later confirmed the Herald's involvement as she tweeted back that it was a "very hard situation" to deal with.
According to BBC, her fans and the LGBTQ+ community took to social media supporting the actress and blasting the publication.
"Coming out is a deeply personal decision. Whether, when and how to come out should be decided by the individual, entirely on their terms," said a Stonewall spokesperson, further adding that it is simply not OK to 'out' LGBTQ+ people or force them to do so.
Nicky Bath, CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, was also furious on the newspaper's approach to Wilson's news. She said that pressurizing people to come out majorly impacts their mental health.
As more and more users joined in on calling out the column, the Herald's editor Bevan Shields released a statement on the matter, emphasizing that to say that "the Herald 'outed' Rebel Wilson" is not correct, Firstpost reported.
He further explained that the celebrity column was just asking questions and would have done the same if Wilson's new partner had been a man. "Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked the questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response," he wrote.
Shields continued that this was not a 'standard news story' and that the newspaper's decision on what to publish depended completely on the actress' response.
Now, there is no saying if this was a case of simple misunderstanding or an intentional action, but after receiving massive public backlash all traces of the column were swiftly removed.
As per the Guardian, on Monday, Hornery officially apologized for his harsh approach against the sensitive matter stating that as a gay man, he was aware of the discrimination and regretted that Wilson found it hard.
"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," he wrote.