SMH, Rebel Wilson saga: Anonymous employee refutes news decisions

A scathing email sent by an anonymous staff member to the Sydney Morning Herald said the newspaper’s “reputation has been damaged” following the Rebel Wilson saga.

A scathing email sent by an anonymous staff member to the Sydney Morning Herald said the newspaper’s “reputation has been damaged” following the Rebel Wilson saga.

The email was sent on Monday after Sydney gossip columnist Andrew Hornery apologized for the deleted column about the Australian actress’ new relationship.

Hornery used a column on Saturday – the day after Wilson “came out” about his same-sex relationship with Ramona Agrumah – to complain that Wilson “looked at him.”

He previously sent the star an email with a deadline to answer questions about her relationship.

An email to all employees claimed that reporters considered the headline a “national laughingstock” because of the way he handled the Wilson case.

“Here we are again – our newsroom has become history,” the email said.

He mentioned a story in February when a newspaper insisted that the closure of the Sydney train network was a “strike”. In fact, it was a closure by order of the government.

“After the ‘strike’ fiasco, we were a national laughing stock, but now we have received international attention,” the staff reporter said in an email.

The Reporter lamented that “the paper’s reputation is being slowly eroded by the day.”

“When I started in HeraldI am proud to work for a company with such a great reputation,” the email reads.

“That reputation is slowly being eroded every day as the paper makes seemingly inexplicable editorial decisions. The hardworking staff has once again been smeared with the same brush as (paper), and we have limited ability to talk about it.

“Many of us know colleagues who are told to delete posts on social media. If we talked about it, we would almost certainly be punished or fired.”

In Hornery’s column, he said he gave Pitch perfect The star had 48 hours to respond to his letter, which he called a “big mistake” because she broke the romance news via her Instagram account instead.

Since then, the column has caused an international outcry.

Shields tweeted in response to the backlash: “The Herald made mistakes with Rebel Wilson and will learn from them.”

But perhaps the damage has been done. Former Sydney Morning Herald editor Peter Frey told Radio National on Tuesday that he believes the editor is responsible.

“Tenor, the way this whole story was framed was flaunting Rebel Wilson, and to suggest that it wasn’t would be disingenuous,” he said.

“A new celebrity partner, if you have a celebrity gossip column, I believe it is of interest to people who read such columns.

“Something went wrong here, I’m sure it’s not just Andrew. An error occurred in the process Sydney Morning Herald which allowed it to continue. If anything, in fact, I think it’s a mounting error.

“Andrew, as listeners should know, apologized and said he handled the situation wrong. At least he understands that something went wrong here and I would like guidance Sydney Morning Herald.

“Editor Bevan Shields issued a statement saying ‘we weren’t trying to outsmart Rebel Wilson.’

“There is a gap here. I strongly believe that editors should support their journalists. But when you make a mistake, the next thing you need to do is admit it and learn from it. And I don’t see much evidence for those last two things at the moment.”

View panelist Whoopi Goldberg joined those who criticized SMX for his handling of history.

“There is a lot of speculation that (Wilson came out) to get ahead of tabloid history in Sydney Morning Herald about her relationship,” Goldberg said.

“Now the person who wrote this has even apologized, saying he “never intended to expose 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.”

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