Rebel Wilson’s defamation case against Bauer took an ugly turn in the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday with Bauer’s lawyers accusing the actress of lying and Wilson’s legal team claiming the attack was “vile” and inferred she was guilty of perjury.
As both parties wrap up their final submissions, summing up the case for Bauer, Georgina Schoff, QC, said the publisher stood by the 2015 articles in Woman’s Day, OK and Women’s Weekly magazines that portrayed Wilson as a serial liar; Schoff once again calling the articles “trivial”.
Schoff said the fact that no one knew Wilson had changed her name until after leaving school and Wilson’s own admission that she could be liberal with the truth during interviews with journalists were proof alone that Bauer’s articles were “true”.
Claims Wilson’s career slowed down after the articles were published were also untrue, Schoff said adding the Hollywood star had signed contracts “worth millions”.
“When she’s participating in an interview, Ms Wilson must know … that she’s not giving a comedic performance,” Schoff said.
“The stories that she tells on those occasions she must know are reported faithfully by journalists for the information of their readers.”
However, in his closing statements. Wilson’s QC, Matthew Collins, said Schoff’s claims were “astonishing and hurtful”.
He added: “They accused her of lying in the witness box and perjuring herself.
“You just observed a cold hearted and vicious take-down of Ms Wilson that was every bit as disgraceful as the attack that appeared in the magazines,” he said.
Collins added that his client was not suing Bauer for the money rather to set the record straight.
“Rebel Wilson is here to say enough is enough, and she is to be admired for that,” he said.
“She had no choice. There was no other way to protect her reputation. Her claim is not about money. It is about restoring her reputation.”
Collins was also scathing of the journalist who penned the initial articles, Shari Nementzik. He expressed his disgust at Nementzik admitting she never sought comment from Wilson because “this was chequebook journalism”.
He also attacked Nementzik for treating information from other magazine and newspaper articles “as gospel”. “That’s not research – it’s plagiarism,” he suggested.
Collins is expected to complete his closing address today before the jury begins its deliberations next week.