Bauer Media will appeal the record-breaking defamation payout it was ordered to pay Rebel Wilson in September.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on October 9, 2017

Bauer Media will appeal the record defamation payout of $4.5 million it has been ordered to pay Rebel Wilson.

The magazine publisher’s general counsel Adrian Goss said today, “It’s important for us to revisit this unprecedented decision on the quantum of damages, which also has broad implications for the media industry.”

It’s important for us to revisit this unprecedented decision on the quantum of damages, which also has broad implications for the media industry

Last month, Justice John Dixon in the Victorian Supreme Court, awarded the Hollywood actress $650,000 in general damages and $3,917,472 in special damages. The amount was reported to be close to four times higher than the previous defamation record in Australia.

A jury in June found Bauer Media had defamed the Pitch Perfect star in a series of eight Women’s Day articles in May 2015, which cost her major roles and affected her pay during that time.

When the payout was announced, media lawyer Mark O’Brien told Business Insider it was the biggest he’s seen in Australian media.

“I would summarise this as the plaintiff winning too well,” he said. “In other words, it would be more likely to give rise to appeal points with such an extraordinary high verdict.

“In my long experience it is the highest defamation award to a plaintiff against media in Australia.”

Then CEO of Bauer, Nick Chan, stood down just a week after the court found in favour of Ms Wilson.

Ms Wilson, who is currently in Europe, said in June she would give any money she received to “charities, scholarships or invested into the Aussie film industry to provide jobs”.