Bauer wins appeal against Rebel Wilson defamation payout

Rebel Wilson’s historic $4.5 million defamation payout has been slashed to $600,000 in Victoria’s Supreme Court in Victoria this morning.

The court found in favour of Bauer Media today, ruling that no economic loss or aggravated damages could be proven in relation to the articles published in the Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly in 2015.

Wilson’s successful defamation case in June last year – which was the highest defamation payout in Australian history – has been slashed to $600,000 on appeal by the magazines’ publishers Bauer Media.

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Wilson took Bauer Media to court over multiple articles that claimed she had lied about her age, real name, and childhood. The jury found the articles wrongly presented her as a serial liar. She was awarded $650,000 in general damages and $3,917,472 in special damages. Bauer Media appealed the payout instantly.

Wilson, only yesterday, tweeted: “What happens tomorrow is to do with the losers @bauermedia quibbling about how much they now have to pay me… I do hope to receive as much as possible to give away to charities and to support the Australian film industry.”

“As I said before I’ve already WON this case and this is UNCHALLENGED!” she said.

The Court of Appeal today reduced the general damages payout by $50,000, meaning she would receive a reduced payment of $600,000.

Judge Pamela Tate rejected Wilson’s claim she “suffered a loss of an opportunity” for three lead roles in feature films “between mid-2015 and the end of 2016” and the judge therefore “set aside” the special damages amount, as “evidence Ms Wilson relied upon was not sufficient to establish”.

Wilson was “unable to establish that there was a causal connection between the defamatory publications for which Bauer was responsible,” Justice Tate said.

There have been mixed reactions from the general public.

Story and photos by Kate Buxton and Isabelle Knevett; Feature image from Eva Rinaldi’s Flickr account.