Whoopi Goldberg speaks out in support of Rebel Wilson over reports she was forced to come out

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Lauren Geall
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Rebel Wilson on the red carpet at the premiere for Netflix's Senior Year

An Australian newspaper has been accused of placing pressure on the Bridesmaids star to come out after an op-ed published on Saturday revealed the paper knew about the relationship and had reached out to Wilson for comment.

Whoopi Goldberg has added her voice to the widespread criticism being levelled at the Sydney Morning Herald over its reporting of Rebel Wilson’s new relationship with the fashion designer Romana Agruma.

The internet was abuzz with excitement last week after Wilson took to Instagram to reveal her relationship, but it later emerged that the Sydney Morning Herald had known about the actor’s relationship prior to her post and given her 48 hours to provide comment for a potential story.

An op-ed posted later by the columnist Andrew Hornery (which has since been removed) also saw him complain about Wilson’s decision to come out on Instagram, suggesting he had been “gazumped” by the actor. 

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Unsurprisingly, this turn of events proved incredibly controversial – with the paper and Hornery’s behaviour attracting widespread criticism online over the weekend. And now, Goldberg has shared her thoughts on the matter, criticising the apology that Hornery later posted regarding his initial op-ed.

Speaking on her show The View, Goldberg said: “There’s a lot of speculation that [Wilson came out] to get ahead of a tabloid story in the Sydney Morning Herald about her relationship.  

“Now, the man who wrote it even apologised, saying it was never his intention to ‘out’ her… Well, you know that’s not true, because if it wasn’t your intention, you wouldn’t have done it. If you didn’t want to do it, you shouldn’t have done it – you knew exactly what you were doing.” 

While the paper initially doubled down on its defence over the weekend, with the paper’s editor Bevan Shields publishing a piece on Sunday (12 June) in which he said the paper “simply asked questions” and did not out the star, Hornery has since apologised for making “mistakes” in the way he handled the story and getting the tone of his Saturday column wrong.

“I have learnt some new and difficult lessons from this and want to be upfront with you about the things I got wrong,” he wrote. “As a gay man I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts. The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else.”

While Wilson has not released a full statement about the events which led to her coming out, she has acknowledged the outrage which has been circulating online.

Responding to a tweet about the paper’s handling of the story, the Bridesmaids star wrote: “Thanks for your comments, it was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace.” 

For advice, information and support on coming out, you can visit the Stonewall website.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.