Rebel Wilson's $4.56m payout has ramifications beyond celebrity … – The Sydney Morning Herald
For some, the law “is an ass”, but for Sydney woman turned Hollywood superstar Rebel Wilson, Australian defamation law is very much a prize show pony that is taking her all the way to the fair.
On Wednesday Wilson was awarded a record $4.56 million payout after suing Bauer Media, the publisher of Woman’s Day over a series of defamatory articles, which she successfully argued had cost her millions in lost movie roles.
Rebel Wilson talks to the media outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Photo: Paul Jeffers
She also successfully argued the articles, which questioned everything from her age to her “ghetto” upbringing, had unfairly portrayed her as a serial liar. She said the stories had left her in floods of tears, forced her to take sleeping pills, caused a urinary tract infection and resulted in an unsightly, festering sore to break out around her mouth.
Wilson, 37, was awarded $650,000 in general damages and $3.91 million in special damages, which she has said she would donate to various charitable causes.
It is the highest amount ever awarded in a defamation case in Australia and one which will have wide-ranging ramifications, not just for the world of celebrity gossip magazines, but the broader media as well, especially when it comes to publishing material which paints its subject in a less than flattering light.
Woman’s Day’s publisher Bauer Media was so confident its coverage was accurate and that it would win the case they continued the fight even when Wilson offered to settle for $200,000.
In court Bauer argued in its defence that the majority of the information it published was largely true, and in cross examination Wilson admitted asking Fairfax Media boss