Rebel Wilson ordered to repay millions in defamation case

By BBC

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Rebel Wilson won a defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media last year

(BBC) – An Australian court has ordered actress Rebel Wilson to repay the majority of her record defamation payout from a magazine publisher.

Wilson had received A$4.7m (£2.6m; $3.5m) in damages and interest from Bauer Media over articles that she said portrayed her as a serial liar.

But a court reduced the sum to A$600,000 earlier this month following an appeal by the publisher.

On Wednesday, Wilson was ordered to pay back A$4.1m and A$60,000 in interest.

She will also have to cover 80% of what Bauer spent on its appeal.

Wilson, an Australian star of Hollywood films including Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, has vowed to give all of her compensation to charity.

In its original finding, the Supreme Court of Victoria awarded her A$650,000 in general damages and $A3.9m for film roles she had lost out on. She was later paid A$180,000 in interest.

However the size of the payout, Australia’s largest for a defamation case, was reduced significantly on appeal.

Ahead of the appeal case – which Wilson did not attend in person – the actress was keen to point out that the court was not reconsidering whether she had won her case, but merely the amount paid out.

The Victorian Court of Appeal ruled that Wilson had failed to prove that Bauer was responsible for her missing out on film roles.

The actress wrote on Twitter at the time: “That’s now $4 million less going to less fortunate Australians and leaves a billionaire corporation, proven guilty of malicious defamation, being able to get away with their seriously harmful acts for a very low pay day.”

The size of the original payout also generated discussion in Australia over whether it could stifle future journalism in the public interest.

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