Hollywood star Rebel Wilson has been handed Australia’s biggest ever defamation payout following her bitter legal dispute with ‘bully’ publisher Bauer Media.
On Wednesday a Victorian Supreme Court judge awarded the Pitch Perfect star more than $4.5million, which she previously said she will give to charity.
Wilson, 37, proved to an all-female jury in June that the Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, OK! and NW magazine publisher defamed her in eight articles published in May 2015.
The articles claimed she was a serial liar about her real name, age and childhood so she could make it in Hollywood.
Hollywood star Rebel Wilson (pictured at a previous court appearance) has won more than $4.5million compensation for being defamed by ‘bully’ publisher Bauer Media
Wilson won $650,000 in general damages and $3,917,472 in special damages for opportunities in movie roles she lost because of the articles.
Justice John Dixon said a substantial amount was required to ‘vindicate’ Wilson after her reputation as an ‘actress of integrity was wrongly damaged’.
The publisher acted in an ‘orchestrated’ fashion to sell more magazines and increase circulation, the judge said.
The actress had sought $5.893million in special damages and $1.2million in general damages, bringing the total claim to $7.093million.
Bauer Media branded the special damages claim ‘extraordinarily large’ and made on the ‘most tenuous of bases’.
On Wednesday a Victorian Supreme Court judge revealed the payout figure, which the Pitch Perfect star (pictured in June) said she will give to charity
Defence barrister Georgina Schoff QC said Wilson was not entitled to special damages because she had failed to prove the articles caused her financial losses.
Bauer Media lawyer Adrian Goss said the publisher was considering the outcome.
‘Bauer Media has a long history of delivering great stories to our readers and we have a reputation for developing some of the best editorial teams in this country. This is what we are focused on,’ he said in a statement.
‘It is about continuing to do what we do best and that is delivering great content to more than 85 per cent of Australian women across the country via our iconic portfolio.’
Wilson has pledged, via Twitter, that any money she wins will be donated to a charity, scholarship or invested into the Australian film industry.
‘Re my defamation case win, any $’s I receive will go to charity, scholarships or invested into the Aussie film industry to provide jobs,’ she wrote.
The tweet was quickly followed with another which read: ‘I take being a role model very seriously’.
Wilson, 37, proved to an all-female jury in June that the Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, OK! and NW magazine publisher defamed her in eight articles published in May 2015