Double standard exposed by rebel outrage

The backlash to SMH’s coverage of Rebel Wilson’s new relationship exposed hypocrisy in the entertainment industry.

The funny thing about outrage is that it never seems to hit the right target. You get apoplectic fury and indignation for tiny transgressions and yet when presented with the most shameless industry-wide bigotry on the same issue, there is not even a groan.

I call the first phenomenon the “Tardis Outrage” – in which the amount of outrage is far too great for his ship and yet he manages to enter. I haven’t come up with a catchy name for the second phenomenon yet, so I guess in the meantime we’ll have to settle for “rank hypocrisy”.

For the perfect panoramic view of it all, you need only consider the events of the past week.

Sydney Morning Herald celebrity gossip columnist Andrew Hornery had planned to write a column about Hollywood celebrity Rebel Wilson’s new relationship – pretty standard stuff for a gossip column, I would have thought.

As it happens, Wilson’s new relationship was with another womanwhich wouldn’t normally raise eyebrows in the face of – I would conservatively assume – 100% of the Western population, but somehow became the sole focus of the outrage that followed.

Apparently, Wilson didn’t want Hornery to reveal her new relationship, and so instead of answering his questions about it, she announced it herself on social media. Good for her, bad for him.

Suddenly, Hornery was a columnist without a column – the most creature-free – and so wrote a grumpy article about how she actually got it back.

That was exactly a week ago and to say all hell broke loose would be doing hell a disservice. Not since a TV presenter forgot to listen to Adele’s new album has a single man been responsible for so much trouble.

The explosion was nuclear, as was the fallout. SMH editor Bevan Shields was forced to publish an explanation, then forced to publish apologies for the explanation. Unfortunately, the apology for the explanation has not been accepted by many, and so there may be an apology for the apology.

Meanwhile, Hornery was forced to write another column apologizing for the previous columnwhich readers could no longer access because the column was removed and replaced with the apology.

I’m not sure what level of real-world satire we’re on right now, but I’m pretty sure it’s uncharted.

And it’s better. Or worse. Anything that makes you happy.

The outrage was at this point global, now driven by none other than Whoopi Goldberg. And anyone with a memory span longer than a goldfish could remember that when they jumped on the shark.

Just four months ago, Goldberg – not her real name, by the way – was herself the subject of an international storm just four months ago for saying that the Holocaust ‘is not about race’.

And so, to recap, a gossip columnist who wrote a column about not having a column to write about was globally shamed by a multi-millionaire megastar who told millions on her TV show in February that the Holocaust was not racist.


But again, it gets better, or worse, or whatever.

Because The daily mail then had an exclusive with actor Hugh, a friend of Wilson’s who uses the pronouns them/them, accused Hornery of taking them out the same way years ago. Naturally, they splashed on it with all the bells and whistles.

I certainly do not dispute the merits of the yarn. I would just suggest that we all take a moment to mark the day when The daily mail criticized the Sydney Morning Herald for being too trashy.

Oh, and amid all the breathless accusations of homophobia, it’s perhaps worth noting that Andrew Hornery and Bevan Shields are gay themselves.

Still, this is not a get out of jail card. I’m incredibly handsome and there are countless other sexy people I oppress on a regular basis. Ask my wife.

But my love life wasn’t the only gay scandal to visit us this week. No less than the Walt Disney Corporation has been criticized for cutting and then restore a kiss between two women in the toy story spin off Light year. Sure, they were both cartoon characters, but that didn’t stop people from trying their hand at Bluey.

According to the Hollywood Bible Variety, the kiss was reinstated following the “staff uproar” and good for them. But it wasn’t so good for audiences in 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian territories, whose governments have banned the movie to have such content.

Naturally, I assumed that such widespread national prejudice would trigger international outrage, and so I consulted international outrage headquarters, Twitter.

Sure enough, Light year was fashionable globally. But imagine my surprise when I found out it was the fury of a tweet from Everybody loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton, who had dared to suggest that Buzz Lightyear should have continued to be voiced by Tory comedian Tim Allen.

Naturally, I immediately checked my privilege and considered my learnings.

No matter how bad the situation in Saudi Arabia – which last year whipped a man 500 times for being gay and this week launched government raids to seize rainbow-colored toys -en-ciel – it will never be able to compete with the endemic homophobia in Sydney Morning Herald.

Very personal note: I’m trying to raise money for the homeless at Vinnies CEO Sleepout. If you can help in any way, I’ll be grateful for every penny. Please donate to Thanks!

Read related topics:Joe Hildebrand

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