Wilson’s massive payout reduced
HOLLYWOOD star Rebel Wilson has lost almost all of her record $4.7 million defamation payout.
Wilson won the biggest defamation payout in Australian history last year after taking magazine publisher Bauer Media to court over a string of articles she said destroyed her reputation.
She was awarded a record $650,000 in general damages and $3,917,472 in special damages for economic loss.
The payout prompted an immediate appeal by Bauer that was upheld yesterday by the Court of Appeal.
In a massive blow to Wilson (pictured), Justices Pamela Tate, David Beach and David Ashley found there was no basis for her to be awarded financial damages for the potential loss of roles, setting aside economic damages entirely.
It also reduced the general damages amount by $50,000, leaving Wilson with a total payout of just $600,000, still above the $389,000 cap for damages of that kind.
The court agreed with Bauer that trial judge Justice John Dixon had made an error when he ordered Wilson be compensated for losing film roles.
Wilson claimed she was sacked from two films – Trolls and Kung Fu Panda 3 – and unable to land any more work due to the articles.
But the Court of Appeal found she failed to properly establish that she had suffered economic damages by losing movie roles. “The judge relied upon evidence of Ms Wilson, and upon evidence of her principal United States agent and another independent Hollywood agent as to what they expected, hoped and assumed would have occurred after Ms Wilson’s success with Pitch Perfect 2. He relied also upon his assessment of the trajectory of Ms Wilson’s career,” the court said.
But it found that the critical inferences drawn by the judge could not be upheld.
Wilson, who attended every day of the month-long defamation trial and one day of the appeal, is currently in Europe filming new movie Jojo Rabbit.
But she tweeted in the leadup that she wasn’t worried about the appeal.
“What happens tomorrow is to do with the losers @bauermedia quibbling about how much they now have to pay me,” Wilson said.
The 38-year-old had claimed more than $7 million in damages after a jury found she was maliciously defamed by four Bauer publications.