Record Australia payout to Rebel Wilson slashed on appeal
Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson’s Australian record defamation payout was slashed on appeal Thursday to just Aus$600,000 (US$454,000) in a major win for publisher Bauer Media.
The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded Aus$4.5 million in damages against the group last September over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.
It was the largest defamation win in Australian legal history and Bauer appealed, arguing the size of the settlement set a dangerous precedent and there were errors of law in the judgement.
The Victorian Court of Appeal agreed, setting aside the decision to award her just over Aus$3.9 million for economic losses. It also cut the Aus$650,000 compensation figure for non-economic loss to Aus$600,000.
Wilson had claimed a series of articles in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015 had portrayed her as a serial liar and damaged her reputation.
The Sydney-born actress told the trial she was sacked from DreamWorks animated feature films “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda 3” following the stories.
But the Court of Appeal said there was no basis for her to receive financial damages for the potential loss of roles.
It found that the previous judge had relied on evidence from Wilson and two Hollywood agents to draw the conclusion that she had lost job opportunities.
“The Court of Appeal held that, for a considerable number of reasons, the critical inferences drawn by the judge could not be upheld,” the summary of judgement said.
“It followed that the judge’s award of damages for economic loss had to be set aside… there was no basis in the evidence for making any award of damages for economic loss.”
Wilson, 38, is in Europe filming and was not in court.
She had previously vowed to give her entire payout to charity and tweeted Wednesday it was never about the money.
“What happens tomorrow (Thursday) is to do with the losers @bauermedia quibbling about how much they now have to pay me,” she said.
“While this case was never about the money for me, I do hope to receive as much as possible to give away to charities and to support the Australian film industry.”
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