Whoopi Goldberg Joins International Backlash Over Sydney Morning Herald’s Treatment of Rebel Wilson

International backlash against the Sydney Morning Herald over coverage of Rebel Wilson’s new relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma has intensified, with celebrities like 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 initially complained in Saturday’s Private Sydney column about being “gazumped” by Wilson, who himself revealed on Friday that Agruma was her new partner.

Goldberg, on her show The View, was damning Hornery’s apologies where he said it was never the Herald’s intention to “exclude” Wilson.

“If you didn’t mean to, you wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “You knew exactly what you were doing… They say ‘Ah, 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 published a “note for subscribersin which he took full responsibility for the SMH’s reporting and apologized for the delay in acknowledging errors.

“The Saturday piece should not have been published and that is ultimately up to me as editor. For that, I apologize to Wilson and anyone who has been offended by this,” the editor said.

Shields also acknowledged that his “little note in defense of our approach” on Sunday was a misstep.

“As an editor, I was aware of supporting the staff, but I should have also acknowledged our mistakes, and that’s what I’m doing today,” he wrote. “The Herald is an inclusive masthead and ally of LGBTIQ+ readers and Australians. This episode was far from ideal, and while no malice was involved, I acknowledge our mistakes and apologize.”

Australian comedian Magda Szubanski tweeted to Shields that the newspaper “had no God-given right to know anything about anyone’s private life”.

“I’m not claiming to speak for Rebel Wilson. But for LGBTQIA+ people, the consequences of what is nothing more than an argument over who gets to print gossip could be devastating,” she said.

Your newspaper has no God-given right to know anything about anyone’s private life
I do not claim to speak for Rebel Wilson
But for LGBTQIA+ people, the consequences of what is nothing more than an argument over who gets to print gossip could be devastating. https://t.co/mzrpHTsoU5

— Magda Szubanski AO (@MagdaSzubanski) June 13, 2022

Singer Ronan Keating said over the weekend that the Herald’s treatment of Wilson had been “terrible”.

Read the news about @RebelWilson and her appalling dealings with an Australian newspaper remind me exactly of the situation with our Steo and the Sun newspaper in the UK. How can this be possible today? Rebel I hope you are doing well and that you have the strength and love to rise. X

— Ronan Keating (@ronanofficial) June 11, 2022

International media, including: the New York TimesCNN and the BBC have reported on Hornery’s column and response. The times 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 one.”

In his first weekend column, Hornery wrote that he gave the Australian movie star two days on Thursday to respond, telling her 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 I really needed a Disney princess all along,” she wrote.

Hornery’s original column was withdrawn on Monday and replaced by his mea culpa. The gossip columnist said he made mistakes and would do things differently in the future.

Despite originally publishing his note defending the paper’s actions, Shields . continued to Apologies also offered on Monday afternoon† In a message to staff, he said he agreed with Hornery that it was appropriate to approach Wilson, as she had posted photos of herself with Agruma on social media, but had expected him to decide on Friday whether or not he should. wouldn’t publish a story, depending 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 editor said he wouldn’t have published a piece unless Wilson agreed. “Taking a deadline was a mistake because it seemed like an ultimatum,” he wrote.

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Hornery also faced a storm of criticism on his personal social media accounts.

People have bombarded his Facebook page with abuse, accusing him of walking the actor.

He has told his loved ones to ignore the “pitchfork brigade” and pay no attention to the “toxic vitriol and lunatics who bark at shadows begging to be heard”.

“Friends and family, apologies for the incessant trolling on my food over the past few days, the pitchfork brigade is gasping for blood – can’t really be bothered to get them all removed as it would take me days!” He wrote.

“Know I’m okay and appreciate the support a few brave souls have dared to show.”

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