Rebel Wilson may have been pressured to reveal her relationship with new girlfriend Romona Agruma.
On Thursday, June 9, the 42-year-old actor announced on Instagram that she was dating Agruma.
Wilson shared a picture of her snuggling up with her new love.
“I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess,” she sweetly wrote in the caption. She also included multiple heart and rainbow emojis with the hashtag #loveislove.
Wilson did not mention how she identifies.
Following her announcement, Andrew Hornery, a private columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, claimed that the publication intended to reveal her relationship before her Instagram post.
A day after Wilson’s Instagram post, Hornery penned a news article for the outlet about Wilson’s relationship.
Then on Saturday, the Sydney Morning Herald published Hornery’s opinion piece that said the outlet had previously contacted Wilson asking for a comment about Agruma before running an article about the couple.
“So, it was 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 another woman, LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma, before publishing a single word,” he wrote.
Hornery called messaging Wilson a “big mistake” because the “Pitch Perfect” star “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.”
The writer continued to express his feelings about Wilson deciding to reveal her relationship in her own way. He added, “Considering how bitterly Wilson had complained about poor journalism standards when she successfully sued Woman’s Day for defamation, her choice to ignore our discreet, genuine and honest queries was, in our view, underwhelming.”
After acknowledging that “who anyone dates is their business,” Hornery referenced Wilson’s previous relationships.
“This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationship, at age 42 and in an era when same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world and — thanks to decades of battling for equality — sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden, even in Hollywood,” he said.
Wilson also weighed in on the situation.
She replied to a tweet that rebuked the opinion piece and said, “Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace.”
In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, many celebrities, including former “American Idol” contestant David Archuleta and TLC star Dr. Brad Schaeffer, have recently opened up why they did not previously feel comfortable discussing their sexuality with the world.
NBA star Dwyane Wade also recently spoke to CNN at the Time100 Summit about “afraid” for his 15-year-old transgender daughter, Zaya, “every moment she leaves the house.”
At the end of Hornery’s article, he wrote, “Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman. It is unlikely she would have experienced the sort of discrimination let alone homophobia — subconscious or overt — that sadly still affects so many gay, lesbian and non-hetero people.”
In spite of huge gains made by LGBTQ people in achieving equality the last few decades, the act of outing someone is still perceived as an inappropriate practice. GLAAD, the LGBTQ media advocacy organization, defines "outing" as "the act of publicly revealing (sometimes based on rumor and/or speculation) another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity without that person’s consent."
"Considered inappropriate and potentially dangerous by a large portion of the LGBTQ community," the definition continues.
Many social media users called out Hornery and the newspaper’s methods at seemingly attempting to out Wilson.
“In case you were wondering how Pride Month is going, the @smh got in touch with Rebel Wilson to say they’d be outing her in the next few days, so when Rebel came out herself the journalists are throwing a tantrum that she robbed them of an exclusive,” one person wrote.
Megha Mohan, who works for BBC, tweeted, “Sydney Morning Herald really out there complaining that Rebel Wilson ‘gazumped’ their threat of outing her on their terms by posting about her own life on her own terms! What a mindblowing piece to write!”
Hornery’s Twitter account is currently temporarily restricted.
After seeing the negative response from Hornery’s piece, Bevan Shields, the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald wrote an editor’s note.
“The article has promoted some public attention and I’ve been reading this feedback closely,” he said. “In the interests of transparency I wanted to offer the ‘Herald’’s view on this issue.”
He added, “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.”
According to Shields, the publication did not plan to out Wilson.
Shields wrote, “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.”
After Shields tweeted his editor’s note, social media users continued to share their disapproval of Hornery’s story and the publication.
“Come on Bevan, you’re better than this,” one wrote. “You can’t pretend to not understand that you were outing her. There’s still time to own it and apologise.”
Another said, “Maybe I shouldn’t be amazed this lacks any apology and acknowledgement of the bad choices made in the midst of Pride month. The column yesterday very clearly runs counter to what you claim here. An Editor shouldn’t misread their audience response so badly so often.”
When interviewed by TODAY in 2021, the celebrity gossip Instagram account Deuxmoi said even she will not share stories that involve a celeb’s closeted sexuality.
"Even if it’s bisexuality, homosexuality, whatever their sexual preferences," she said. "If they have not talked about it publicly, I won’t post it.”