A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Appalling editorial decision by the Sydney Morning Herald in seeking to out Rebel Wilson

So, it was 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.

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.

This ‘story‘ in The Sydney Morning Herald reflects, in my opinion, poorly on the editorial decisions of the newspaper.

They are upset that Rebel Wilson decided to come out, ahead of their story. While we will never know if Rebel would have made the announcement as and when she did, what we do know is that the enquiry from the SMH and their advice they would run the story preceded it.

In the SMH story they try and justify their behaviour.

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.

This, in a story that reflects poor journalism, poor editorial decisions and reads like bullying.

No news outlet, no person has the right to out anyone. It is no one else’s business until the person or people directly involved decide. When it is done it is hurtful, harmful and, too often, dangerous.

There is no newsworthiness in Rebel Wilson’s personal life, unless your business model is predicated on making money off of gossip.

The story in the SMH makes them the story, their editorial choices and how they treat gay people, threaten them, bully them. That’s how I see it. And, yes, I have a vested interest in that it happened to me years ago, not in the SMH or any newspaper, but my agency was taken from me by gossips and others.

How the SMH has handled the story could impact others in the closet, famous or not as it shows anyone that outing someone is okay and that pressuring them about their sexuality is okay. It is not okay to out someone and it is not okay to pressure someone to come out.

The SMH has diminished itself through its behaviour on this. The masthead owes an apology to Rebel Wilson.

Why does this matter here? We sell this stuff and some days I hate that I do.

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Ethics

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  1. Rod Hurley

    I’m with you there Mark. Quite honestly, there are days, when I see the front of the herald sun or Australian, that I just want to waste the lot and tell customers I didn’t get the delivery.

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