Aussie movie star Rebel Wilson’s defamation case against Bauer Media starting in the Supreme Court in Melbourne today could have huge ramifications on the gossip titles and those peddling fake news in Australia.
The defamation case will be held in front of a jury, which have been sworn in this morning, with opening addresses by Wilson’s lawyer and the counsel for Bauer Media expected to start at 2.15pm this afternoon.
Wilson is furious over a series of articles that appeared in the Bauer-owned Woman’s Day in 2015 that inferred the actress had lied about her age, her name and her upbringing. Read B&T’s original article here.
She claims the articles from May 2015 under the headline “Just who is the REAL Rebel?” portrayed her as a “serial liar who has invented fantastic stories in order to make it in Hollywood”.
Wilson will claim the articles defamed and embarrassed her and destroyed her chances of getting lucrative film roles in Hollywood. She has returned to Australia to give evidence in a case that is expected to last three weeks. Wilson said “she can’t wait to start giving evidence”.
On Friday, she told reporters outside the court that it was “really important, that the truth comes out”.
“I just think it’s really important that the truth comes out in this matter and I’m excited to get started with it finally,” she said.
Wilson is seeking undisclosed damages with reports it could tally into the several hundreds of thousands if she is successful.
However, a Wilson win would see all the gossip magazines tighten their often loose reporting particularly in this era of “fake news”.
Many weekly magazines and websites run articles that are borderline defamatory arguing that celebrities want the press even if it is negative, they’ve come to expect it, while the news cycle moves so fast that there is no time to mount a legal challenge anyway or have offending articles pulled or retracted.
Bauer has reported it will strenuously deny Wilson’s claims and defend its journalists. B&T will cover the three-week trial in detail.