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"ethics" homophobia misogyny playing the victim

Skeezy Australian journalist was about to “out” Rebel Wilson, but she beat him to it

Rebel Wilson with new girlfriend Ramona Agruma on Oscars night

This article has been UPDATED; see below.

When comic actor Rebel Wilson came out in an Instagram post Friday morning, she was greeted with cheers. In her post, she introduced her followers to her new girlfriend, fashion designer Ramona Agruma. “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince,” she wrote, “but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess.” For Wilson fans, it was hard not to read this without uttering an involuntary “aww.”

But over on the Sydney Morning Herald, columnist Andrew Hornery wasn’t cheering her announcement, or what Pink News called the “wave of love and support” that followed.

Because he had learned of her relationship before Wilson had announced it publicly, and he wanted to be the one to “out” her.

How do we know this? Because in a petulant column on Friday Hornery told us that was his plan, revealing that he had contacted Wilson’s people on Thursday to ask for (demand?) “comments” from her before he went ahead and spilled the beans.

As he put it in his column:

So, it was [with] 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.

Giving her two days to respond to what was essentially a bit of blackmail? Very “respectful.”

But Wilson moved faster and announced her news one day before Hornery was planning to out her.

Big mistake. Wilson 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.

Oh, go fuck yourself.

I looked up the word “gazump,” which turns out to be a real word basically meaning to swindle someone.

INFORMAL•BRITISH(of a seller) raise the contracted price of a property after having informally accepted a lower offer (from an intending buyer).

“the trio are fuming after they were gazumped by a property speculator”

Dude, she had agreed to nothing. It wasn’t your news to break. You were the one blackmailing her for a quote.

Fuck you again.

Oh, but Hornery wasn’t done. First he whined that Wilson had arranged it so that her good friend and fellow actor actor Hugh Sheridan was on the radio telling everyone how he set up the couple in the first place. I guess it should have been Hornery himself doing a victory lap in the media.

Then he suggested once again that it was her, not him, who was committing some sort of ethical breach by making her own announcement about her own life before he had a chance to out her.

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.

Then Hornery more or less said that she deserved an outing because

Wilson happily fed … prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm.

What.

The rest of the article seemed to suggest — it read that way to me at least — that Wilson’s same-sex romance might be just a phase, or some sort of trick. After all, he wrote,

This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationship, at age 42 … Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman. … She and Agruma have grown very close in a short time.

He also declared, I assume to justify his attempt to out her against her wishes, that

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.

Dude, the homophobia is coming from inside the house, and by “the house” I mean your own fucking head. Outing someone against their wishes is a homophobic act. (Except perhaps in some cases in which a closeted person is doing active harm to other LGBTQ+ people, but even that is complicated, and regardless, it doesn’t apply here even remotely because Wilson hasn’t done anything wrong except to follow her own heart.)

Hornery deserves to be fired for this.

UPDATE: The editor of the Sydney Morning Herald has weighed in, defending Hornery. I don’t think this is going to go over terribly well.

A note on Rebel Wilson
Bevan Shields
By Bevan Shields
June 12, 2022 — 5.15pm
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On Saturday, the Herald published an article about Australian actor Rebel Wilson and her new partner Ramona Agruma. The article ran online and was a small item on page 36 of Saturday’s print edition.

The article has promoted some public attention and I’ve been reading this feedback closely. In the interests of transparency I wanted to offer the Herald’s view on this issue.

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.

To say that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson is wrong.

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.

Wilson made the decision to publicly disclose her new partner - who had been a feature of her social media accounts for months.

Private Sydney is a column in which the writer’s interaction with his subjects is often part of the story. Saturday’s piece followed that theme in giving readers insights into our interaction with Wilson and her PR team. This was not a standard news story.

We wish Wilson and Agruma well.

H/T — @meghamohan for the main story and @katedoak and @StrivingAlly for the update.

Follow me on Twitter.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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danielrigal
danielrigal
5 months ago

He should think himself extremely lucky she didn’t go to the police!

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

A UK pal in my Discord asked me if this paper was Murdoch-owned (like two-thirds of Australian media) and I was like “surprisingly no!”. The SMH used to be a reasonably good mainstream outlet, too.
It’s a gobsmacking little tantrum, and the paper’s editor is rightly copping a bollocking on Australian twitter this morning.

bcb
bcb
5 months ago

IIRC, didn’t Lily Wachowski come out because the Daily Mail was Daily Blackmailing her? I don’t have the stomach to check if they wrote a piece whining about her not giving in to their blackmail.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
5 months ago

I just watched Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and I have to say that the self-righteous busybodies in that movie were less entitled than this fuckin’ guy.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
5 months ago

The fucking nerve to whine about how your plot to forcibly out someone got thwarted. There’s just no depth white dudes in the media will not sink to.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
5 months ago

Wilson opted to gazump the story

On the bright side, I now have a new word in my vocabulary: gazump.

Natsume
Natsume
5 months ago

For fuck’s sake there is no ethics in press and there never has been. They’re not called muck rakers for no reason. All they do is stir shit for recognition. While the few ethical ones battle in court to publish the truth. See Wakefield v Deer for a lovely demonstration of that. A demonstration that spawned the modern anti-vax movement.

personalpest
personalpest
5 months ago

Gotta say, this asshole has the perfect name for this story, since Hornery = Horny + Ornery. It’s a surname worthy of Dickens. He exemplifies the clueless, self-righteous entitlement you expect from privileged white men; he tries to hurt a total stranger, and when it doesn’t work out he whines that he’s the victim.

LouCPurr
LouCPurr
5 months ago

Surely there must be something serious going on in Australia that this walnut could be investigating? Some corrupt politicians or something?

Jazzlet
Jazzlet
5 months ago

Very glad this nasty person got gazumped.Sadly not surprising that he doesn’t mention the possibility Wilson might be bisexual or anything other than a lesbian.

“Gazump” was traditionally used in house buying when a seller had agreed a price with you, and accepted your offer, but then accepted a higher offer from someone else. Obviously this happened in a rapidly inflating housing market, the housing market in the UK is truly fucked.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

As well as gazumping, we also have gazundering.

That’s where you agree a sale and at the last minute before completion the buyer says they’re only willing to pay a lower amount.

Less of an issue now with the housing market here.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
5 months ago

Sadly not surprising that he doesn’t mention the possibility Wilson might be bisexual or anything other than a lesbian.

I personally prefer “queer as fuck”, then no matter whom I end up going down on, I have nothing to explain.

personalpest
personalpest
5 months ago
Tabby Lavalamp
5 months ago

They have a surprising number of shovels for a newspaper, considering how big that hole they’re digging is.

The most jaw dropping part of this is they are making her out to be the villain in the story.

Lollypop
Lollypop
5 months ago

I don’t know about this journalist in particular, but this feels very indicative to me of an industry that is entirely stitched up by rich, privately educated people who are funneled through wealth and connections into these jobs – not because they actually want to do journalism, but for the prestige – and carry all the small minded entitlement that is inherent in that privilege.

It’s like a journalist on Twitter recently espousing how EASY it is to feed a family cheaply, and when someone suggested she try it on UK minimum wage, told them “no I’m too busy working hard for my family” (the implication being that others aren’t).

When I looked her up, it turned out she didn’t only go to a fee paying school, she went to one of the most exclusive fee paying schools in the UK. Her school cost 40 grand a year. She is so posh, she hasn’t even revealed who her parents are. And her “working hard” consists of writing an opinion column every now and then, with a ready-made audience from her plum broadsheet role. THESE PEOPLE, HONESTLY.

Dave
Dave
5 months ago

The only way his complaint would make any sense is if she were being interviewed in his column, and he asked privately beforehand whether she would like to talk about her new girlfriend, and she had said they prefer keeping their relationship private, only for her to tell a different columnist all about it before his column was published. Even then, it’s her life. There’s only so peeved one can get about it.

As for Lollypop’s suggestion that Hornery’s entitlement suggests that he comes from a privileged background and got the job through connections, I did some investigative journalism of my own. No smoking gun, but preliminary analysis indicates Lollypop pegged him exactly.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
5 months ago

@Dave:

As for Lollypop’s suggestion that Hornery’s entitlement suggests that he comes from a privileged background and got the job through connections, I did some investigative journalism of my own. No smoking gun, but preliminary analysis indicates Lollypop pegged him exactly.

You can’t get that kind of job (salaried, full time, full benefits) anymore except via Lollypop’s route, so of course she(?) did.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
5 months ago

Someone should gazump Hornery and his editor’s jobs, I think.

“Fuck you” is all the reply they deserve, although I’m sure the Aussies have many other ways to express this, and are using all of them. “Fetid dingo kidneys” at best and a really startling collection of obscene, profane, and scatological adjectives at worst.

gijoel
gijoel
5 months ago

All I can say is, “Way to go Rebel. You’re punching above your weight,” and then give her a massive high-5. Also fuck Hornery, and his whinging.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
5 months ago

Rebel and Ramona. Ramona and Rebel. And they look so cute together. Awwww.

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