Rebel Wilson’s Bauer Media defamation payout slashed from $4.5M to $600K

By @chelean on
Australian actress Rebel Wilson poses for photographers at the European premiere of the film "How to be Single" in London, Britain February 9, 2016.
Australian actress Rebel Wilson poses for photographers at the European premiere of the film "How to be Single" in London, Britain February 9, 2016. Reuters/Neil Hall

Rebel Wilson’s record defamation payout has been slashed to just a little over 13 percent. The court originally ordered Bauer Media to pay the “Pitch Perfect” actress $4.5 million for defaming her, but the damage was slashed to $600,000 after the magazine publisher appealed.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Melbourne handed down the slashed amount in its 252-page judgment. According to Justice Pamela Tate, there was no basis for Wilson to be awarded such high sum as financial damages for the potential loss of roles.

Wilson’s non-economic losses were also reduced from $650,000 to $600,000. She was not present when the new ruling was handed down.

In 2016, Wilson sued Bauer Media after several of its magazines — Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK! — published online articles that defamed her. According to the articles published in 2015, she lied about her real name, age and childhood so she could make it in Hollywood. She had claimed that the reputation and career had suffered because of the offending articles.

In June 2017, a six-person, all-female jury ruled in favour of the 38-year-old actress. She was awarded $4,567,000 in damages, which was four times the highest previous verdict in a defamation case in the country. She had previously tweeted that the case “wasn’t about the money,” and that whatever amount she would be awarded would go to Australian charities.

Wilson hasn’t publicly addressed the change in her payout yet. However on Wednesday, she said that whatever happened, she had already won the case, reiterating that it was never about the money for her.