Australian comedian Rebel Wilson won A$4.6 million ($3.7 million) in damages on Wednesday after a global magazine publisher was found to have defamed her in a string of articles which led to her losing out on Hollywood movie roles.
The Supreme Court of Victoria ordered Bauer Media to pay Sydney-born Wilson, best known for her roles in the Pitch Perfect films, A$650,000 in general damages, including aggravated damages, plus A$3,917,472 in special damages, the highest ever for a libel case in Australia.
“The damage suffered by Miss Wilson warrants a substantial damages award to vindicate her and nail the lie,” Justice John Dixon said, reading out a summary of his judgment.
He said aggravated damages were justified due to Bauer Media’s “unprecedented” global reach and its decision to run a string of articles which claimed Wilson had lied about her age, real name and some childhood events, even after it knew the allegations were false.
“The allegations were based on information from a source who required payment and anonymity and whom the editor considered had an axe to grind,” Dixon said.
He said Bauer Media had “kept the story alive for days” for its own profit.