Australian newspaper columnist Andrew Hornery apologises for the ‘tone’ of his Rebel Wilson article


Australian newspaper columnist apologises for the ‘tone’ of his controversial Rebel Wilson article: ‘I made mistakes and will learn from them’

  • Rebel Wilson came out by posting on Instagram with new girlfriend on Friday
  • She is dating LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma, her ‘Disney princess’
  • Hours later SMH columnist complained she scooped his story about new love
  • Backlash followed as readers were outraged he planned to ‘out’ her in print

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Andrew Hornery has apologised for the ‘tone’ of his controversial Rebel Wilson article, and said it was never his intention to ‘inflict pain’ when he reached out to ask about her new relationship with Ramona Agruma.

In an updated column on the SMH website, Andrew Hornery admitted that he has learnt some new and difficult lessons.

‘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,’ he began.

Sydney Morning Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery (pictured) has apologised and said it was never his intention to 'inflict pain' on Rebel Wilson when he reached out to ask about her new relationship with Ramona Agruma.

Sydney Morning Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery (pictured) has apologised and said it was never his intention to ‘inflict pain’ on Rebel Wilson when he reached out to ask about her new relationship with Ramona Agruma.

‘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.’

Hornery said that he thought that his article would be a ‘happy story’ after seeing several months of photos of the pair together on her Instagram page.

The gossip columnist said he never meant his e-mail request comment to be a threat, but rather ‘make it clear’ that he was ‘sufficiently confident with his information and to open a conversation’.

‘I assumed there was a good chance she might be happy to discuss it,’ he explained. 

‘She had already revealed a month ago that she had been dating and was very happy.’

Rebel Wilson (right) broke her silence about claims she was going to be 'outed' by a newspaper on Sunday before she went public with her new girlfriend Ramona Agruma (left)

Rebel Wilson (right) broke her silence about claims she was going to be ‘outed’ by a newspaper on Sunday before she went public with her new girlfriend Ramona Agruma (left) 

It comes after Wilson broke her silence about claims she was going to be ‘outed’ by a newspaper before she went public with her new girlfriend Ramona Agruma.

The Hollywood actress came out on Friday with a gushing Instagram post announcing her new love of six months, to the delight of her 11.1 million followers.

‘I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess’,’ she captioned the post.

But hours later Sydney Morning Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery hit out at Wilson’s decision to ‘gazump’ his scoop, arguing he found out about the relationship and was going to publish a story about it.

A wave of backlash followed in response to Hornery planning to ‘out’ Wilson, 42, and then complaining about her taking control of the announcement. 

‘Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace,’ Wilson wrote in reply to a Twitter post by Channel 10’s Kate Doak. 

On Sunday night, the 42-year-old actress replied to her fans who had shown support in the wake of the backlash surrounding a Sydney Morning Herald article, which went to print one day after Rebel announced the romance herself on social media

On Sunday night, the 42-year-old actress replied to her fans who had shown support in the wake of the backlash surrounding a Sydney Morning Herald article, which went to print one day after Rebel announced the romance herself on social media 

Doak wrote: ‘So apparently it wasn’t Rebel Wilson’s choice to come out. The SMH/The Age have admitted to giving her a heads up two days in advance that they were going to ‘out’ her. What’s worse, openly gay men at the Sydney Morning Herald were involved in this.’ 

Hornery wrote he gave Wilson two days to respond to questioning, effectively forcing the actress’ hand, yet became angry when the star chose to take control of the narrative herself.

‘It was with an abundance of caution and respect that this media outlet emailed Rebel Wilson’s representatives on Thursday morning, giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma, before publishing a single word,’ he wrote.

‘Big mistake. Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new ‘Disney Princess’ on Instagram early Friday morning, the same platform she had previously used to brag about her handsome ex-boyfriend, wealthy American beer baron Jacob Busch.

‘Considering how bitterly Wilson had complained about poor journalism standards… her choice ignore our discreet genuine and honest queries was underwhelming.’

But hours later Sydney Morning Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery hit out at Wilson's decision to 'gazump' his scoop, arguing he found out about the relationship and was going to publish a story about it

But hours later Sydney Morning Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery hit out at Wilson’s decision to ‘gazump’ his scoop, arguing he found out about the relationship and was going to publish a story about it 

Wilson wrote in reply to a Twitter post by Channel 10's Kate Doak, who was one of many readers angry that Hornery's column planned to reveal her relationship

 Wilson wrote in reply to a Twitter post by Channel 10’s Kate Doak, who was one of many readers angry that Hornery’s column planned to reveal her relationship

The article prompted a major backlash on social media with users bowled over by the newspaper’s insensitivity, prompting editor Bevan Shields to pen a lengthy statement denying any wrongdoing and wishing the couple well.

‘Our weekly Private Sydney celebrity column last week asked Wilson if she wished to comment about her new partner. We would have asked the same questions had Wilson’s new partner been a man. To say that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson is wrong,’ Shields wrote in ‘A note on Rebel Wilson‘.

‘Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response. I had made no decision about whether or what to publish, and the Herald’s decision about what to do would have been informed by any response Wilson supplied.

‘Wilson made the decision to publicly disclose her new partner – who had been a feature of her social media accounts for months.’

Rebel opted to go public with the romance to get ahead of the story, announcing the relationship with Ramona on her Instagram on Friday

Rebel opted to go public with the romance to get ahead of the story, announcing the relationship with Ramona on her Instagram on Friday 

The Pitch Perfect star topped off her sweet caption with rainbow and heart emoji, adding the hashtag #loveislove

The Pitch Perfect star topped off her sweet caption with rainbow and heart emoji, adding the hashtag #loveislove

Sydney Morning Herald Editor’s full statement on Rebel Wilson ‘outing’ backlash  

‘On Saturday, The Herald published an article about Australian actor Rebel Wilson and her new partner Ramona Agruma. The article ran online and was a small item on page 36 of Saturday’s print edition.

‘The article has promoted some public attention and I’ve been reading this feedback closely. In the interests of transparency I wanted to offer The Herald’s view on this issue.

‘Our weekly Private Sydney celebrity column last week asked Wilson if she wished to comment about her new partner. We would have asked the same questions had Wilson’s new partner been a man.

‘To say that The Herald ”outed” Wilson is wrong. Like other mastheads do every day, we simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response.

‘I had made no decision about whether or what to publish, and The Herald’s decision about what to do would have been informed by any response Wilson supplied.

‘Wilson made the decision to publicly disclose her new partner – who had been a feature of her social media accounts for months.

‘Private Sydney is a column in which the writer’s interaction with his subjects is often part of the story. Saturday’s piece followed that theme in giving readers insights into our interaction with Wilson and her PR team. This was not a standard news story.

‘We wish Wilson and Agruma well.’

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A small article on Rebel and Ramona, 38, announcing the relationship, also ran in the Sydney Morning Herald’s print edition on Saturday. 

The Sydney Morning Herald did reveal the pair have already ‘discussed marriage and starting a family together’. 

A source also told People Magazine that their relationship is very serious and they have been dating each other for the last six months.

‘It’s been very cool for Rebel’s friends to see her this secure with someone’, they said. 

Many readers expressed outright anger at the paper’s approach to the story, with one social media user writing: ‘am so beyond disgusted at this. turns out [Wilson] only came out to avoid being forcefully outed and now that newspaper is pissed at her for ruining their scoop??’

LGBTQ+ campaigners also voiced their criticism of the paper, arguing that each individual should be able to decide how and when they want to share news of a same-sex relationship.

A Stonewall spokesperson said : ‘Coming out is a deeply personal decision. Whether, when and how to come out should be decided by the individual, entirely on their terms.

‘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.’

Actor and singer Hugh Sheridan said he introduced the happy couple to each other six months ago after deciding he would dedicate time to finding a perfect match for Rebel. 

‘I’d been setting Rebel up with various people and Ramona up with various people. I’m a bit of a matchmaker in my spare time, but Rebel was a really hard one and so was Ramona,’ he told 2Day FM.  

Although Friday marked Wilson and Agruma’s official debut as a couple, the pair have actually been spotted together on several occasions in the past few months – even making a joint red carpet appearance at the Vanity Fair Oscars party back in March. 

Although Friday marked Wilson and Agruma's official debut as a couple, the pair have actually been spotted together on several occasions in the past few months - even making a joint red carpet appearance at the Vanity Fair Oscars party back in March. Pictured: Rebel and Ramona on April 2 in Utah

Although Friday marked Wilson and Agruma’s official debut as a couple, the pair have actually been spotted together on several occasions in the past few months – even making a joint red carpet appearance at the Vanity Fair Oscars party back in March. Pictured: Rebel and Ramona on April 2 in Utah

Actor and singer Hugh Sheridan (centre) introduced the happy couple to each other after deciding he would dedicate time to finding a perfect match for Rebel

Actor and singer Hugh Sheridan (centre) introduced the happy couple to each other after deciding he would dedicate time to finding a perfect match for Rebel

'I'd been setting Rebel up with various people and Ramona up with various people. I'm a bit of a matchmaker in my spare time, but Rebel was a really hard one and so was Ramona,' he told 2Day FM

‘I’d been setting Rebel up with various people and Ramona up with various people. I’m a bit of a matchmaker in my spare time, but Rebel was a really hard one and so was Ramona,’ he told 2Day FM 

The duo happily posed together for the cameras, with both women putting on an incredibly glamorous display in glitzy gowns, with Wilson opting for a shimmering silver number, while Agruma dazzled in glittery blue.

They were also spotted together in February on Super Bowl Sunday, and Agruma subsequently joined Wilson for her birthday trip to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico in early March.

The duo then enjoyed another getaway in April, this time to Park City, Utah, where they were seen attending another red carpet event, before hitting the slopes for some skiing. 

Other than her coming out post, Wilson hasn’t shared any other details about her girlfriend, who is an LA-based fashion designer and the owner of the sustainable fashion brand Lemon Ve Limon. 

The duo then enjoyed another getaway in April, this time to Park City, Utah, where they were seen attending another red carpet event, before hitting the slopes for some skiing

The duo then enjoyed another getaway in April, this time to Park City, Utah, where they were seen attending another red carpet event, before hitting the slopes for some skiing 

Short-lived: Rebel's most recent confirmed partner was Jacob Busch, of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company family, but they broke up by February 2021 after four months together. Pictured in 2020

Short-lived: Rebel’s most recent confirmed partner was Jacob Busch, of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company family, but they broke up by February 2021 after four months together. Pictured in 2020

The actress did reveal last month that she was dating someone, although she kept their identity under wraps, telling People that she had been set up with her partner – thought to be Agruma – ‘through a friend’, before spending weeks ‘getting to know each other’ on the phone. 

‘We spoke on the phone for weeks before meeting,’ Wilson revealed at the time. ‘And that was a really good way to get to know each other. It was a bit old-school in that sense — very romantic.’

She also shared how ‘the process of finding more self-worth’ had ‘elevated’ her standards in terms of what she was looking for in a partner, describing her romance with her new girlfriend as ‘equal’ and ‘healthy’. 

As well as their under-the-radar public appearances together, Agruma has also been a fixture on Wilson’s Instagram in recent months, though she wasn’t presented as anything other than a friend. 

Rebel’s most recent confirmed partner was Jacob Busch, of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company family.

She and the heir began dating shortly before the coronavirus pandemic began, and they made their red carpet debut in Monaco, but the relationship only lasted four months and ended around February 2021.

Earlier this year, the comic star had been rumored to be dating the Australian tennis player Matt Reid, though that relationship was never confirmed.

Earlier this year, the comic star had been rumored to be dating the Australian tennis player Matt Reid (pictured), though that relationship was never confirmed. Pictured in December

Earlier this year, the comic star had been rumored to be dating the Australian tennis player Matt Reid (pictured), though that relationship was never confirmed. Pictured in December

Wilson hasn't shared any other details about her girlfriend, who is an LA-based fashion designer and the owner of the sustainable fashion brand Lemon Ve Limon

Wilson hasn’t shared any other details about her girlfriend, who is an LA-based fashion designer and the owner of the sustainable fashion brand Lemon Ve Limon 

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