Whoopi Goldberg joins international backlash over Sydney Morning Herald’s treatment of Rebel Wilson | Rebel Wilson

The international backlash against the Sydney Morning Herald over its reporting of Rebel Wilson’s new relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma has intensified, with celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg, now criticizing the masthead.

Columnist Andrew Hornery and Herald editor Bevan Shields apologized this week after Wilson was given a two-day deadline to respond to plans to write about the relationship.

Hornery initially complained in Saturday’s Private Sydney column about being “gazumped” by Wilson, who revealed on Friday that Agruma was her new partner.

On her show The View, Goldberg was scathing of Hornery’s apology, where he said it was never the Herald’s intention to “out” Wilson.

“If it weren’t your intention, you wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “You knew exactly what you were doing … They say, ‘Oh well, people want to know’. I don’t care what people want to know, frankly. I want to keep my privacy. It should be my choice if I want to talk about something.”

Shields, on Tuesday afternoon, published a “note to subscribers” in which he accepted full responsibility for the SMH’s coverage and apologized for the delay in acknowledging mistakes were made.

“The Saturday piece should not have been published, ” ultimately on me as editor. I apologize to Wilson and anyone offended,” the editor said.

Shields also acknowledged that his “small note defending our approach” on Sunday was a misstep.

“As an editor, I was conscious of supporting staff, but I should have also acknowledged our mistakes, which is what I’m doing today,” he wrote. “The Herald is an inclusive masthead and ally of LGBTIQ+ readers and Australians. This episode was far from ideal, and while no malice was involved, I recognize our mistakes and apologize for them.”

Australian comic Magda Szubanski has said the paper had “no God-given right to know anything about the private life of anyone” in a tweet addressed to Shields.

“I don’t claim to speak on behalf of Rebel Wilson. But for LGBTQIA+ people, the consequences of what is nothing more than a hissy fit over who gets to print gossip can have devastating effects,” she said.

Rebel Wilson

Bevan, Your paper has no god-given right to know anything about the private life of anyone I don’t claim to speak on behalf of Rebel WilsonBut for LGBTQIA+ people, the consequences of what is nothing more than a hissy fit over who gets to print gossip can have devastating effects https://t.co/mzrpHTsoU5

— Magda Szubanski AO (@MagdaSzubanski) June 13, 2022

On the weekend, Singer Ronan Keating said that Wilson’s treatment by the Herald had been “horrible”.

Reading the news about @RebelWilson and her horrible dealings with an Australian paper reminds me of the situation with our Steo and the sun newspaper in the UK. How can this be possible today? Rebel, I hope you are OK and have the strength and love to rise above. X

— Ronan Keating (@ronanofficial) June 11, 2022

International media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC, have reported on Hornery’s column and the response and the Times pointed to criticism from Wilson’s fans, journalists, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who argued “the decision to come out and when to do so is a personal one”.

In his initial weekend column, Hornery wrote that on Thursday, he had given the Australian film star two days to respond and told her he had enough confirmation to publish a story.

The next day, Wilson posted a picture of herself with Agruma on Instagram, saying she had thought she was “searching for a Disney prince”. “But maybe what I needed all this time was a Disney princess,” she wrote.

Hornery’s original column was pulled and replaced by his mea culpa on Monday. The gossip columnist said he had made mistakes and he would take a different approach in the future.

Despite originally publishing his note defending the paper’s actions, Shields apologized on Monday afternoon. In a message to staff, he said he agreed with Hornery that it was appropriate to approach Wilson, given she had posted pictures of herself with Agruma on social media. Still, he had expected to decide on Friday whether or not to publish a story depending on Wilson’s response.

He said it would be “impossible to publish” without such a response. “Mistakes were made in our approach to Wilson, and I apologize for them,” Shields wrote.

The editor said he would not have published a piece unless Wilson had agreed to be involved. “The inclusion of a deadline was an error as it appeared to be an ultimatum,” he wrote.

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Hornery has also faced a storm of criticism on his personal social media accounts.

People have abused his Facebook page and accused him of outing the actor.

He has told those close to him to ignore the “pitchfork brigade” and not to take any notice of the “toxic vitriol and nutters barking at shadows demanding to be heard”.

“Friends and family, apologies for the incessant trolling on my feed these past few days. The pitchfork brigade is baying for blood – can’t be bothered deleting them all as it would take me days!” he wrote.

“Know that I’m OK and appreciate the support a few brave souls have dared to show.”

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.