Rebel Wilson awarded record €3m in damages in Australian defamation case

The Hollywood star says she will help charities and 'support the Oz film industry' with the money

Rebel Wilson awarded record €3m in damages in Australian defamation case

Rebel Wilson. Picture by: Hubert Boesl/DPA/PA Images

Actress and comedian Rebel Wilson has been awarded more than AUS$4.5 million (€3 million) after she took a successful defamation case against a media company.

The Australian actress - best known for her roles in films such as Pitch Perfect and How To Be Single - took the case against Bauer Media, which publishes magazines such as Woman’s Day.

In June, a jury ruled in favour of Ms Wilson after finding that a series of articles had branded the actress a 'serial liar' who had 'fabricated almost every aspect of her life'.

Judge John Dixon of the Supreme Court of Victoria has awarded Ms Wilson $650,000 (around €430,000) in general damages, and an additional $3.9m (€2.6m) in "special damages for Ms Wilson’s opportunity for new screen roles lost by reason of the defendant’s publications".

Judge Dixon said that the amount - the highest ever for an Australian defamation case - was necessary to vindicate the actress.

He explained: "Only a substantial sum in damages could convince the public that Ms Wilson is not a dishonest person and bring home the gravity of the reputational injury established before the jury.

"In the full media glare, Bauer Media’s defence of this case attempted to characterise its articles as true or as trivial or not likely to be taken seriously. Unless substantial damages are awarded there is a real risk that the public will not be convinced of the seriousness of the defamation, but will rather wrongly conclude that the articles were trivial or not that serious."

He added that he was satisfied that Bauer Media "did not care whether the plaintiff suffered reputational damage as it pursued its own corporate interests".

"Sustained and malicious attack"

In a series of tweets, Ms Wilson said she was subjected to a "sustained and malicious attack" timed to coincide with the release of Pitch Perfect 2.

She said: "Today was the end of a long and hard court battle against Bauer Media who viciously tried to take me down with a series of false articles.

"Justice Dixon has awarded me a record sum and I’m extremely grateful for that. It is 4 times the Australian record."

She added that the case wasn't about money for her, saying that she was looking forward to "helping out some great Australian charities and supporting the Oz film industry" with the damages.

Ms Wilson is set to appear in Pitch Perfect 3, which will be released in December.