The Victorian Supreme Court has awarded a whopping $4.5 million in damages to Aussie actress Rebel Wilson after it ruled in favour of her defamation case against Bauer Media. The amount is said to be the highest defamation payout in Australian legal history.
Wilson was hoping for a $7 million settlement after successfully suing Bauer in June over claims the publisher made in its stable of women’s magazines – which includes Woman’s Day, The Australian Women’s Weekly, New Weekly and OK Magazine – which the actress said “gravely injured her feelings, credit and reputation”.
In awarding the damages, Supreme Court Justice John Dixon said the articles’ global reach meant the level of defamation was “unprecedented in this country”, according to ABC News.
“At trial and in the full media glare, Bauer Media tried to characterise its article as true, or as trivial, or as not likely to be taken seriously,” he said.
“Substantial vindication can only be achieved by an award of damages that underscores that Ms Wilson’s reputation as an actress of integrity was wrongly damaged in a manner that affected her marketability in a huge worldwide marketplace.”
Shortly after her defamation victory, Wilson said on Twitter that any money she did receive would “go to charity, scholarships or invested into the Aussie film industry to provide jobs”.
Bauer said in a statement that it is considering today’s judgement.
Speaking on behalf of Bauer Media, General Counsel Adrian Goss said: “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.
“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.”