The international backlash against the Sydney Morning Herald over its reporting on Rebel Wilson’s new relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma has intensified, with celebrities such as 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 first complained in Saturday’s Private Sydney Column that she had been ‘gassed’ by Wilson who herself unveiled friday that Agruma was his new partner.
Goldberg, on her show The View, was scathing about Hornery’s Apology where he said the Herald never intended to “take out” Wilson.
“If it wasn’t your intention, you wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “You knew exactly what you were doing… They say, ‘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 posted a “note to subscribersin which he accepted full responsibility for the coverage of the SMH and apologized for the delay in acknowledging that mistakes had been made.
“The Saturday piece should not have been published and it is ultimately on me as editor. For that, I apologize to Wilson and anyone offended by this,” the publisher said. .
Shields also acknowledged that his “little note defending our approach” on Sunday was a misstep.
“As an editor, I was aware of the support staff, but I should have also acknowledged our mistakes, which I do today,” he writes. “The Herald is an inclusive banner and ally of LGBTIQ+ readers and Australians. This episode was less than ideal, and while there was no malice involved, I acknowledge our mistakes and apologize.
Australian comedian Magda Szubanski said the newspaper had “no divine right to know anything about anyone’s private life” in a tweet directed at Shields.
“I do not claim to speak on behalf of Rebel Wilson. But for LGBTQIA+ people, the consequences of what is little more than a tantrum over who can post gossip can be devastating,” she said.
Singer Ronan Keating said over the weekend that the Herald’s treatment of Wilson had been “horrendous”.
International media, including the New York Times, CNN and the bbc reported on Hornery’s column and response. The temperature pointed to criticism from Wilson’s fans, journalists and members of the LGBTQ+ community who argued that “the decision to come out and when to do so is a personal decision.”
In his first column of the weekend, Hornery wrote that on Thursday he gave the Australian movie star two days to respond and told him he had enough confirmation to publish a story.
The next day, Wilson posted a photo of herself with Agruma on Instagram, saying she thought she was “looking for a Disney Prince.” “But maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess,” she wrote.
Hornery’s original column was removed and replaced with his mea culpa on Monday. The gossip columnist said he made mistakes and would take a different approach in the future.
Although he initially published his memo defending the newspaper’s actions, Shields monday afternoon also apologized. In a message to staff, he said he agreed with Hornery that it was appropriate to approach Wilson, given that she had posted photos of herself with Agruma on the networks. social media, but he expected to decide on Friday whether or not to publish a story based on Wilson’s response.
It would be “impossible to publish” without such a response, he said. “Mistakes were made in our approach to Wilson and I apologize for that,” Shields wrote.
The publisher said it would not have published an article unless Wilson agreed to be involved. “The inclusion of a deadline was a mistake as it appeared to be an ultimatum,” he wrote.
Hornery also faced a storm of criticism on his personal social media accounts.
People bombarded his Facebook page with slurs and accused him of taking out the actor.
He told those close to him to ignore the ‘pitched brigade’ and pay no heed to the ‘toxic vitriol and crackpots barking at the shadows demanding to be heard’.
“Friends and family, apologies for the relentless trolling on my feed for the past few days, the pitchforks brigade is out for blood – I can’t really bother deleting them all as it would take me days! ” he wrote.
“Know that I am well and appreciate the support a few brave souls have dared to show.”
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