Rebel Wilson has reason to cheer — actually, 4.56 million reasons.
Back in June, the “Pitch Perfect” star won her defamation suit against Bauer Media, and now the judge in the case has set the damages awarded to her at a whopping $4.56 million, with interest and additional costs to be determined at a later date.
According to a report in The Guardian, Justice John Dixon characterized the damage Wilson suffered due to the false tabloid reports, which branded her a serial liar, as “substantial.”
“The extent of the publication of the defamatory imputations was unprecedented in defamation litigation in this country,” said Dixon.
“At trial and in the full media glare Bauer Media attempted to characterize its articles as true, trivial, or not likely to be taken seriously,” he noted.
“The jury’s verdict established Bauer Media’s publications had branded Ms Wilson a serial liar who had fabricated almost every aspect of her life,” noted Dixon, adding: “The jury rejected the defences of substantive truth, triviality and statutory qualified privilege.”
In an earlier report, The Guardian reported that the verdict was reached after two days of deliberation by a jury at the Supreme Court of Victoria.
In 2015, the magazines Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day, owned by Bauer Media, published eight separate articles, which Wilson claimed defamed her as a liar, and which the actress said cost her jobs and damaged her reputation.
“This has definitely been a long and very hard fight but I felt that I had to take a stand,” Rebel said. “I had to stand up to a bully, a huge media organization — Bauer Media Group — who maliciously took me down in May 2015 with a series of grubby and completely false articles.”
The articles in question alleged that Wilson had lied about her birth name, age, and her family background. According to Wilson, the allegations were drummed up by an old classmate, and that the negative press had cost her roles in the animated films “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Trolls”.
“The reason I’m here is not for damages, it’s to clear my name,” Rebel said after the court victory. “And the fact the jury has done that unanimously and answered every single of the 40 questions in my favour I think proves what I’ve been saying all along.”
Wilson said in a tweet, any money she receives from the suit will go to a good cause.
In a statement released by Bauer Media, the company says it will “consider its options” after the verdict.
Wilson is not concerned about the case proceeding further. “I was hoping the jury would do the right thing and send a message to these tabloids,” she says, “and they’ve done that, so, for me, it’s over in my mind.”
“I’m a person that’s really confident in my own skin and really felt like it was the right thing to do to take this company on and prove how disgusting and disgraceful their chequebook journalism is,” Wilson said.
Now that she’s won her case, Wilson says she’s focused on going back to Hollywood and getting her career back on the rails.
“You’re not popular for long in Hollywood, you have a few years until you go out of fashion,” Wilson said. “They took those two years away from me doing what I love, which is entertaining people and making people laugh.”
That feeling is shared by her fellow Australian and fellow Hollywood star who’s had his own issues with tabloids: Russell Crowe.
“Hey @RebelWilson,” tweeted the “Gladiator” Oscar-winner, “so brave, so much integrity… now ‘f**k o**’ back to Hollywood and be your brilliant self. Proud of you.”