Rebel Wilson has lost her bid to reclaim her record-breaking $3.5 million (£2.75 million) defamation payout in full.
The Pitch Perfect actress was awarded the damages, the biggest ever payout in a defamation case in her native Australia, last September (17) after she successfully sued Bauer Media executives for magazine articles published in 2015 that portrayed her as a serial liar who had misled fans about her age and background.
Lawyers for the media firm challenged the $3.5 million award, and judges at Victoria’s Court of Appeal significantly reduced the sum to $434,000 (£340,000) on appeal. That’s all she will receive as her own claim seeking leave to appeal and reverse the reduction was dismissed in Australia’s highest court in Canberra on Friday (16Nov18).
After the ruling Rebel wrote on Twitter: “It’s been a long journey in the Australian courts these past few years and I am glad the matter is now at a definite end. I have been determined to stand up to a bully and I am proud of myself for doing so.”
She had pledged to give her record payout to charity and told reporters outside the court that her case had not been motivated by money.
In the original verdict, Rebel was awarded $491,000 (£383,000) in general damages, with Bauer chiefs ordered to pay millions more in special damages as the presiding judge was convinced by Rebel’s argument she had lost out on roles due to the articles in Woman’s Day magazine. The sum was an Australian record – as a judge ruled her global reputation meant a $306,000 (£240,000) cap on damages did not apply.
Bosses at Bauer challenged the mammoth payout as potentially harming public interest journalism and argued that her loss of income claims were unproven. Australian court officials agreed with the latter argument and in September the 38-year-old star was ordered to repay the portion of her payout relating to loss of income, as well as legal fees, and interest.