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Columnist Apologizes Over Article Seemingly Intended to Out Rebel Wilson: “I Have Learnt Some New and Difficult Lessons”

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“It was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace,” Wilson said of the controversy.


The Sydney Morning Herald Faces Backlash

A columnist for the Syndey Morning Herald issued an apology on Monday after he received backlash for seemingly attempting to “out” actress Rebel Wilson.

“I genuinely regret that Rebel has found this hard,” writer Andrew Hornery wrote in an opinion piece. “That was never my intention.”

The controversy started after Hornery’s column addressed Wilson’s recent Instagram post revealing she is in a relationship with a woman, designer Ramona Agruma.

“I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess,” Wilson wrote announcing the relationship. 

In a since-removed column published Saturday, Hornery wrote that the Herald was going to break the news of her same-sex relationship, but upon learning of the possible story, the “Pitch Perfect” star beat them to the headline. 

According to Hornery, out of an “abundance of caution and respect,” the outlet emailed Wilson’s representatives to give her “two days to comment on her new relationship with another woman.”

“Big mistake,” Hornery continued. “Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new ‘Disney Princess’ on Instagram early Friday morning.”

Upon reading his piece, many online were outraged that the Herald planned on outing Wilson. Furthermore, people were in shock that Hornery’s column suggested that he was frustrated Wilson saw his request for contact and then opted to come out on her own terms. 

Many argued that Hornery forced Wilson out of the closet. 

“The publication messaged Rebel Wilson saying they would out her in 2 days – and is now complaining that she chose to announce her relationship with a woman herself,” wrote BBC World Senior Staff Reporter Megha Mohan. “Quite astonishing”

“Maybe I’m incredibly naive but this is what I imagined 90s gutter press was like,” Mohan continued. 

Others called the column “shameful” and accused the Herald of engaging in “scum-of-the-earth journalism.”

Wilson herself responded to a tweet by saying the situation was “very hard” but she was “trying to handle it with grace.”

Columnist Issues Apology

On Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald Editor Bevan Shields defended the outlet’s choice, arguing it is “wrong” to suggest “that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson.”

“Our weekly Private Sydney celebrity column last week asked Wilson if she wished to comment about her new partner,” Shields wrote. “We would have asked the same questions had Wilson’s new partner been a man.

On Monday, Hornery released an opinion piece admitting he “made mistakes” with his story. The column about Wilson’s coming out was subsequently removed from the outlet’s website. 

“As a gay man I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts,” Hornery wrote. “The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else.”

Hornery went on to share the contents of his email to Wilson and her team. He said that a celebrity relationship story is “happy” by nature. Based on Wilson’s recent posts featuring Agruma, he assumed she would be willing to talk about their relationship. 

“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,” he 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.”

“That was not fair and I apologise,” he continued.

“I have learnt some new and difficult lessons from this.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (People) (CNN)

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“Emancipation” Producer Apologizes, Hopes He Did Not “Distract” From Film’s Message By Bringing Photo of Enslaved Man to Premiere 

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He said he plans on donating his collection of historical images to appropriate institutions.


McFarland Brings “Whipped Pete” Photo to Premiere 

“Emancipation” producer Joey McFarland apologized on Sunday after facing backlash for bringing the original 1863 photo of the enslaved person the film is based on to the premiere. 

“I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I have offended by bringing a photograph of Peter to the Emancipation premiere,” he wrote in a statement on Instagram. “My intent was to honor this remarkable man and to remind the general public that his image not only brought about change in 1863 but still resonates and promotes change today.”

The photo, frequently dubbed “Whipped Peter,” is one of the most famous images depicting the gruesome realities of slavery in America. He is facing away from the camera, revealing the severe scarring all across his back. According to the Library of Congress, the formerly enslaved man was actually named Gordon. Will Smith plays him in “Emancipation,” which follows his escape from slavery.

While walking the red carpet of the film’s premiere, McFarland carried the photo with him.  

“I have the photo. This is the original photograph from 1863,” he told Variety. “I wanted it to be here tonight. I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”

While lamenting the fact that so many historical artifacts have not been properly preserved, McFarland told Variety that he “took it upon [him]self to curate and build a collection for future generations.” He said his collection will be donated after he dies. 

His remarks were met with swift criticism from those who thought it was inappropriate for McFarland to not just own the picture, but to bring it to a Hollywood event. 

“Why do you own the photograph? Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intent is to preserve it respectfully?” The Black List founder Franklin Leonard tweeted.

“I don’t know, man, but bringing ‘a piece of Peter’ that you ‘own’ to the red carpet of a movie that’s personally enriching you so that you can collect more slave memorabilia that you’ll keep until your death,” he added along with a giphy of Kenan Thompson saying “yikes.”

McFarland Acknowledges Historical Photos “Belong to the World”

Others argued that the photo should belong to Gordon’s family. 

“Being in possession of a symbol that reflects our trauma is exactly what our oppressor would do. He is his ancestor’s child,” another person added. 

In his apology, McFarland said that he hopes his actions “don’t distract from the film’s message, Peter’s story and just how much impact he had on the world.”

Throughout the development of “Emancipation,” McFarland said he discovered many photos of overlooked individuals with important historical stories. He said he always planned to donate them and believes “there is no better time to begin that process than now.”

“These photographs, which existed before me, will be around long after I am gone; they belong to the world,” he wrote.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Daily Beast)

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Joe Rogan Holds Spot As Top Podcaster on Spotify in 2022

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Earlier this year, some threatened to boycott the platform over Rogan and the health misinformation he shared on his show. 


For the third year in a row, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the number one podcast on Spotify, the company revealed in its yearly “Wrapped” feature on Wednesday. 

“The Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify in 2020 after the host signed a lucrative deal with the audio streaming platform. “Call Her Daddy” by Alex Cooper, also a Spotify exclusive, followed Rogan on the charts. “Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain,” which will become exclusive to the service next year, came in third.

Rogan’s podcast has made several headlines over the last year as the podcaster faced backlash from medical professionals and major musicians for touting COVID-19 misinformation. Niel Young asked to have his music removed from Spotify in protest of the company’s deal with Rogan, and several other artists soon followed. 

Just a few days later, several clips resurfaced of Rogan using a racial slur. Many called to boycott Spotify for platforming Rogan, but his popularity did not seem to fade by the year’s end. 

There are over four million podcasts available to stream on Spotify and over the last year, the platform has expanded into new markets. 

It also has started launching podcasts from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian’s “The System,” and Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes.” Both of those debuted mid-year and did not crack the annual top-five list.

See what others are saying: (Spotify) (Variety) (Forbes)

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Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded

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“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.


Pressure on Beckham

Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup. 

Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death. 

Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine. 

In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.  

“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.” 

“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.” 

Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”

Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.

“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.

Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit. 

Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event. 

Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hollywood Reporter) (BBC News)

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