Rebel Wilson was placed in “an appalling position” when the Sydney Morning Herald contacted her about her new relationship, the LGBTIQ+ Health Australia official has claimed.
The Hollywood Star unveiled friday she was in a relationship with American fashion designer Ramona Agruma, which sparked a wave of wishes. But controversy erupted after the Herald reported on Saturday that he had contacted her on Thursday, wanting to make history.
The Herald gave Wilson two days to respond. After revealing his own story, his columnist Andrew Hornery complained that the diary had been “watched” and said it was a “big mistake” to contact Wilson in advance.
In a note to readers on Monday, Herald editor Bevan Shields said the paper did not take Wilson out, but “simply asked questions and, as standard practice, included a response deadline.” ABC radio host Rafael Epstein called it “dishonest”.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia chief executive Nicky Bath said there was a process people went through to reveal their sexuality and it was a hugely personal and vulnerable time.
“These are personal decisions,” she said. “Who you disclose to first, how you do it and when you do it.
“When people come out, the important question is that they have made the decision to do so and have the right support around them to go public with an important part of their lives.
“The pressure put on you to come out is really unnecessary and will have an impact on [people’s] Mental Health.”
On Friday morning, Wilson posted on Instagram, using the hashtag #loveislove, that she thought she was “looking for a Disney Prince.”
“But maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney princess,” she wrote.
On Saturday, Hornery wrote that the newspaper emailed Wilson’s reps Thursday morning, “giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with Los Angeles leisurewear designer Ramona Agruma.”
“Big mistake,” Hornery wrote. “Wilson chose to look at history.”
He wrote that “dating is their business”, but that Wilson “happily harbored such lustful interest when she had a handsome boyfriend on her arm”. Wilson is unlikely to have experienced homophobia, he wrote, and “sexual orientation is no longer something to hide.”
On Sunday, Wilson said on Twitter that it was a “very difficult situation” that she was trying to handle gracefully.
shields wrote that the newspaper would have asked the same question if Wilson’s new partner had been a man. Shields said he hadn’t made a decision on whether he would post or what, but that any decision would have been informed by any response from Wilson.
“This was not standard reporting,” he wrote. “We wish Wilson and Agruma the best of luck.”
Bath said that while society might consider “all good as rain” for LGBTI people, the reality was that “homophobia is alive and well in Australia”.
“In 2022, finding yourself in this situation is really disappointing, when you know that people from LGBTIQ+ backgrounds have high rates of mental health [issues],” she says.
She said coming out should be a joyful time for people to talk about who they are, and that the process for Wilson had been “tarnished” by the Herald. She highlighted the decision of the Australian Press Council standards of practicethat refer to the need for respect and consent when discussing a person’s sexual or gender identity.
Shields and the Herald have been contacted for further comment.
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