Magazine publisher Bauer Media says it will appeal the $4.56 million damages payment awarded to Australian actress Rebel Wilson in a landmark defamation case against Woman’s Day handed down last month.
Bauer Media General Counsel Adrian Goss it was important for the company to “revisit this unprecedented decision on the quantum of damages”, especially because it “also has broad implications for the media industry”.
The Victorian Supreme Court awarded Wilson $650,000 in general damages and $3.97 million in special damages after a jury in June this year decided that Wilson was defamed in eight articles in 2015 calling her a serial liar.
Justice John Dixon described the defamation as “unprecedented in this country”.
“The damage suffered by Miss Wilson warrants a substantial damages award to vindicate her and nail the lie,” he said.
Justice Dixon said Bauer Media failed to properly investigate the allegations made against Wilson, and published them in Women’s Day, knowing them to be false. And the company’s conduct was “orchestrated”.
“Bauer Media published to advance its own corporate interests to improve its circulation or increase views, hits, in the expectation of higher profits,” his judgment said.
Her lawyers had argued Wilson should get more than $7 million because she missed out on major Hollywood film roles.
When the payout was announced, media lawyer Mark O’Brien told Business Insider it was the biggest he’s seen in Australian media, adding that Wilson was “winning too well”.
“In other words, it would be more likely to give rise to appeal points with such an extraordinary high verdict,” he said.
Wilson has said she would give any payout to charity, and recently finished filming a romantic comedy.
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