AceShowbiz - A judge awarded Rebel Wilson record damages of 4.56 million Australian dollars ($3.66 million) on Wednesday, September 13 in a defamation case against Bauer Media. The Australian comedian claimed that the company, publisher of the Australian magazines Woman's Day, Australian Women's Weekly, NW and OK, defamed her with their articles, which cost her roles in Hollywood movies.
A Supreme Court of Victoria ordered Bauer Media to pay the "Pitch Perfect" actress A$650,000 in general damages, including aggravated damages, plus A$3,917,472 in special damages. In June, a six-person jury decided that the articles claiming she lied about her age, origins of her first name and some of her childhood events in Sydney were defamatory.
At the supreme court in Melbourne on Wednesday, Justice John Dixon said a "substantial" payment was required to "vindicate" Wilson after her reputation as an "actress of integrity was wrongly damaged." Interest and costs would be determined at a later date.
"At trial and in the full media glare Bauer Media attempted to characterise its articles as true, trivial, or not likely to be taken seriously," added Dixon. "The jury's verdict established Bauer Media's publications had branded Ms Wilson a serial liar who had fabricated almost every aspect of her life. The jury rejected the defences of substantive truth, triviality and statutory qualified privilege."
The justice also made special mention of an article by award-winning journalist Caroline Overington for the Woman's Day website. He stated that the article "conveyed that Ms Wilson is so untrustworthy that nothing she says about herself can be taken to be true unless it has been independently corroborated. Such a meaning is, self-evidently, very serious."
In addition, Dixon criticized Bauer Media for failing to properly investigate the allegations against the actress as well as for publishing them despite "knowing them to be false." He said, "The information was based on a source who required payment and anonymity and whom the editor considered had an axe to grind."
General counsel for Bauer Media Adrian Gross said in a statement on Wednesday morning that the company was considering the judgment. "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|percent| of Australian women across the country via our iconic portfolio," he said.
Wilson said after winning, "You're not popular for long in Hollywood, you have a few years until you go out of fashion. They took those two years away from me doing what I love, which is entertaining people and making people laugh."
During the trial, Wilson's barrister Dr Matthew Collins QC claimed that his client was subsequently dismissed from "Trolls" and "Kung Fu Panda 3" due to the defamatory articles. "It should have been the high point of her career. She should have been going from meeting to meeting to discuss future roles. In fact, the phone stopped ringing," said Dr Collins.
The "How to Be Single" star previously said that she would donate the money to charity.