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Media outlet accused of outing Rebel Wilson

Gather the PR troops! There is some damage control to do this week at a certain Sydney media outlet.

The situation

Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) has been accused of allegedly pressuring Australian actress, Rebel Wilson, to ‘come out’ in sharing her new relationship status. Last Thursday, Wilson revealed she was in a relationship with successful fashion and jewellery designer, Ramona Agruma, via an Instagram post captioned “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince … but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess.”

What should have been an exciting time for Wilson has been met with much drama. It is alleged that SMH Private Sydney columnist, Andrew Hornery, pressured Wilson’s management with just a 2 day response window before publishing the opinion piece which would have ‘outted’ her. Like any smart public figure, she reclaimed her power and beat him to the exclusive.

The article went live shortly after Wilson announced herself, with Hornery claiming in the now removed column that “he had known about the relationship for some time”. The column spoke on how she “opted to gazump the story” by posting on social media.

The backlash

The public and fellow journalists were outraged and have taken to social media to call out this alleged ‘outing’. Journalists have shared their disappointment in the media industry and many questioned how the column was approved in the first place. Hugh Sheridan, Australian actor and friend of Wilson, was also mentioned in the column by Hornery for which he claimed, “Repeat offender @smh/@theage this was the most painful piece to read just after coming out.”

The response

As we know, being in the Communications industry, it is common for media questions to be met with a strict deadline. In the initial response issued by the SMH, this was their leading defence. SMH has since put out an article called, “A note on Rebel Wilson”, reiterating they were simply doing their job as journalists, and giving an insight into their interactions with Wilson and her PR team. Hornery was also quick to react, and rightly so, owning up to his mistakes and acknowledging the difficult lessons he’s learnt. This was a well-executed PR move for both the outlets and Hornery’s reputation, as we know in PR it’s better to put out sincere and transparent statements and hope it blows over soon.

The lesson

Don’t mess with Rebel Wilson, and don’t ‘out’ anyone…ever.

 

By Claudia Bergen – PR & Influencer Coordinator at InsideOut PR and #AsSeenOn

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