Coming out of the closet is possibly one of the bravest, most difficult things for someone to do. And it comes with more than its share of struggles. And you would think that for something like this, everyone would drop everything to be at their side. Unfortunately, not everyone is supportive of an individual who opens up about their identity or sexuality. It is a very personal experience, one that cannot be hastened or dictated. There’s no rule about when someone should or shouldn’t come out. It’s totally up to the individual and no one has the right to force someone to do it. Unfortunately, Rebel Wilson didn’t have the choice of coming out at her own pace.
The Pitch Perfect actor recently introduced her girlfriend Ramona Agruma and revealed she is in a same sex relationship for the first time. “I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess 💗🌈💗#loveislove,” Rebel’s caption read. Many fans congratulated her and came out in her support. But later, it was found that Rebel only chose to come out as she was being threatened by an Australian newspaper to be outed first when they learned about her relationship. The newspaper’s gossip columnist published an op-ed piece that said he’d known about the news and had given Wilson a 2-day deadline for commenting on the status of her relationship herself. He went on to state that she “opted to gazump” his story by sharing the news herself. And this sparked a global outrage among people from the LGBTQIA+ community and others, rightfully so. It is appalling that someone should think that they have the right to talk about a person’s sexuality before they want to. It’s alarming that anyone should think that they have a right over the story, a mere clickbait tactic or headlines that could be forgotten the next day.
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Initially, the editor of the publication backed the writer and denied the accusation of forcing Wilson to come out. He also defended the paper’s right to question celebrities about their relationship status. It was only after the media house faced severe backlash that the editor as well as the gossip columnist issued a public apology and took down the story. But how does it even make a difference when so much damage has already been done?
This instance opens the debate on ethical journalism and where to draw the line. While it is the job of entertainment writers to report news on celebrities including their personal life, it isn’t acceptable for them to practically threaten a star when they choose not to share a piece of their life with the whole world. Rebel chose to tell her own story – and it is only her story to tell. Talking about an individual coming out before they have done it themselves is way too insensitive and needs to be taken as a serious breach of ethics. It’s threatening to those who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community and doesn’t help in creating a safe space for them and that is the last thing they need.
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Although it’s 2022, it’s still sad to see that nobody can live freely, even celebrities. Yes, most of their life is an open book. But when they choose to let information out about their lives on their own terms, it’s everyone else’s job to respect it.