Rebel Wilson has slammed six Australian media companies after their bid to join an appeal against her record breaking defamation payout was rejected.
The Pitch Perfect star was awarded $3.5 million in damages, the biggest payout in Australian history, after suing magazine publisher Bauer last year (17) over articles alleging she lied about her age and background in interviews.
Rebel, 38, won her case after, stating the articles, which appeared in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015, were false and cost her movie roles. She vowed to give the payout to Australian charities.
Bauer bosses have appealed the decision, and last month (Feb18) executives at News Corp. and Fairfax Media, the radio firm Macquarie and Aussie TV networks ABC, Seven and Nine asked to join the appeal, arguing the precedent set by the size of the damages could stifle journalism.
According to The Australian, on Thursday (22Mar18), Justice Pamela Tate of the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday rejected their attempt to intervene in the case, stating that the arguments put forward by the firms’ lawyers did not differ enough from those of Bauer’s original appeal.
After the verdict Rebel criticised bosses at the media companies of “colluding” with Bauer to reduce the payout.
“Why on earth would all these major Australian media organizations want to side with a company like @bauermedia in the first place? It was 100 per cent clear that they were guilty of maliciously defaming me,” she wrote.
“Ch 7, Ch 9, ABC, News Corp, Fairfax & Macquarie Media should be embarrassed about colluding with @bauermedia and for unfairly and inappropriately reporting on my appeal and costs hearing over the past few months.”
Last September, Justice John Dixon ruled the actress’s global reputation justified exceeding the present cap of $306,000 on awards of general damages, making Rebel’s payout the largest in Australian history.
Lawyers for the media companies argued that breaching the cap on damages would set a precedent which would deter journalists from pursuing public interest stories.