Actress Rebel Wilson has secured a large damages award having successfully sued Bauer Media in Australia over a series of magazine articles which she said had portrayed her as a serial liar. The award f A$4.5m is the largest damages award in Australian legal history for a defamation case. Ms Wilson had originally sought A$7m but had offered to settle the case for A$200,000 before the case went to trial.
The actual trial took place back in July 2017 when a jury unanimously found in favour of Ms Wilson who had said that the articles had damaged her Hollywood career and caused serious harm to her reputation. Specifically the jury accepted that eight articles published by Bauer magazine in 2015 had portrayed her as a serial liar and resulted in Ms Wilson being sacked from two films. The jury did not accept Bauer Media's arguments that the articles were substantially true and did not affect Ms Wilson's career.
This unanimous decision was reflected in the words of the Judge when making the damages award. The Judge commented that this case was unprecedented in Australian legal history due to the international reach of the case as a result of Ms Wilson's fame. He stated vindication for Ms Wilson could only be achieved by an award of damages which reflects that Ms Wilson's reputation was damaged in such a way that affected her marketability within the film industry.
Though damages can be high in defamation cases where a Claimant can prove serious harm to their reputation, this large settlement reflects Ms Wilson's fame and lucrative earning potential in Hollywood. Ms Wilson has stated on Twitter that she would donate the damages to Australian charities and the Australian film industry.Posted by: in: Defamation, News