Rebel Wilson’s defamation battle with Bauer Media is not yet over, as the publishing company is set to appeal the Pitch Perfect star’s multi-million record win last month.
On October 9, the Canberra Times reported that Bauer Media Group confirmed it will fight the court decision and attempt to overturn Rebel Wilson’s $4.5 million payouts.
“Bauer Media has today advised that it will be appealing the quantum of damages in the recent defamation judgment,” Bauer Media counsel Adrian Goss said in a statement.
The huge amount awarded to the Australian actress was to compensate for damages over defamatory articles. Wilson testified in the past trial that the media company published false stories about her, and these appeared in the pages of Woman’s Day magazine and two other Bauer Media publications, including OK! Magazine and New Weekly magazine.
She said that the slanderous write-ups have created ugly rumors, and she lost many potential projects, including film roles in Hollywood, as a result. The actress added that the articles were malicious and blatantly written to take her down.
Rebel Wilson sued Bauer Media Group earlier this year and won the battle after the Melbourne Supreme Court found enough proof that the inaccurate stories have damaged Rebel Wilson’s reputation, thus her marketability was negatively influenced.
While handing down his decision on the case, Victorian Supreme Court Justice John Dixon strongly criticized Bauer Media for not doing proper research over claims made about Wilson. The judge also blasted the company for publishing the articles even though they know the contents were incorrect.
In the end, after the jury found Bauer Media guilty of defaming the actress via the eight malicious articles they published, Dixon awarded $650,000 to Rebel Wilson for general damages and $3.91 million for special damages. The total amount was the highest defamation payout ever recorded in Australian legal history.
At any rate, it was said that Bauer Media is not appealing to be free from its liability. Rather, sources stated that it is fighting the judgment because they believe that Dixon disregarded the legal cap on defamation payouts. Generally, damages in defamation cases in Australia are capped only at $389,500 for damage to reputation and hurt feelings.
“There are some really concerning aspects of the judgment on damages. The worst part of the judgment was the ruling that the limit or cap on damages doesn’t apply,” the Herald Sun quoted media lawyer Justin Quill as saying with regard to Bauer Media’s plan to appeal.
Moreover, Bauer’s attorney said that it is crucial to challenge the damages award since it also has effects on press freedom.
“It’s important for us to revisit this unprecedented decision on the quantum of damages, which also has broad implications for the media industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rebel Wilson expressed disappointment over Bauer Media’s decision to appeal. However, she explained that she is not surprised by the move.
[Featured Image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]