IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Australian newspaper removes column about Rebel Wilson's new relationship

Andrew Hornery, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, drew criticism for appearing to have attempted to "out" the actor.
Image: Rebel Wilson
Rebel Wilson, pictured here at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif. P. Lehman / Future Publishing via Getty Images file

The Sydney Morning Herald has removed a column about "Pitch Perfect" actor Rebel Wilson's new romantic relationship and the writer has apologized for making "mistakes" in his reporting following backlash from the public.

In the original article, published on Saturday, Herald gossip columnist Andrew Hornery wrote that he had emailed Wilson's representatives two days before publication seeking comment on her relationship with designer Ramona Agruma.

Hornery wrote that Wilson instead "opted to gazump the story" by announcing the news on her Instagram profile on Friday, a decision he characterized as a "big mistake and "underwhelming." (Gazump is a British-Australian slang term for swindle or outbid.)

The column attracted scrutiny on social media, drawing accusations that the newspaper was attempting to “out” Wilson.

In a note to readers published Sunday, Herald editor Bevan Shields defended the column.

"To say that the Herald 'outed' Wilson is wrong," Bevan wrote.

But on Monday, the publication removed the original column, replacing it with a new article from Hornery headlined, "I made mistakes over Rebel Wilson, and will learn from them."

Wilson's manager did not immediately respond to an email from NBC News requesting comment on the newspaper's decision.

In a reply to a journalist on Twitter on Sunday, Wilson wrote: "Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace."

Horney did not immediately respond to request for comment.

In the new article, he elaborated on the initial column.

"When I started hearing from friends and associates of Rebel that she was in a new relationship, as a gossip columnist I could see that was potentially a story, as her previous boyfriends had been," Hornery wrote. "But we mishandled steps in our approach."

Hornery explained that he put his request for comment in an email to Wilson's representatives, noting his deadline and saying, "I have several sources who have confirmed their status and I have enough detail to publish."

Wilson did not reply to Hornery's request for comment, he wrote, and she then revealed her relationship with Agruma on Instagram.

"My email was never intended to be a threat but to make it clear I was sufficiently confident with my information and to open a conversation," Hornery wrote.

"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 added.

Hornery also apologized for appearing to express annoyance with Wilson for having posted the news about her relationship on Instagram instead of responding to his email.

"In trying to tell the story within the story ... the tone of my column on Saturday was also off," he wrote. "I got it wrong. I allowed my disappointment to cast a shadow over the piece. That was not fair and I apologise."