A gossip columnist has apologised for the “tone” of an article about Rebel Wilson, in which he complained about the star “gazumping” his scoop on her same-sex relationship.
The actress, 42, came out on Friday with an Instagram post announcing her new love of six months, leisurewear designer Ramona Agruma, saying she had found her “Disney princess”.
But the following day, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that they’d known about the relationship before it was public.
Columnist Andrew Hornery said he planned to publish a story and had given her two days to provide a comment.
He then complained about the actress taking control of the announcement and said she had “opted to gazump the story” after he’d been in touch.
That sparked a major backlash with LGBTQ+ campaigners saying it was unacceptable to put pressure on people to come out. On Monday Hornery apologised and insisted it was never his intention to “inflict pain”.
“It is not the Herald’s business to ‘out’ people and that is not what we set out to do. But I understand why my email has been seen as a threat. The framing of it was a mistake.”
He also said that “as a gay man, I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts” and that he would not wish to “inflict that pain on someone else”.
He acknowledged “the tone of my column on Saturday was also off”, admitting: “I allowed my disappointment to cast a shadow over the piece. That was not fair and I apologise.”
Australian Wilson has not directly acknowledged the newspaper’s actions but in response to a Twitter post saying it wasn’t her choice to come out, she said it was a “very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace”.
The newspaper denied pressuring Wilson, saying it had “simply asked questions”.