Australian actress Rebel Wilson was awarded $3.66 million dollars by an Australian judge in a defamation case against Bauer Media who printed articles about her that cost her getting roles in Hollywood movies. The unprecedented large victory was against the 8 tabloid magazines under Bauer Media including Woman's Day and Women's Weekly, which many other Hollywood stars have had trouble with in the past. According to the law firm representing Wilson, the payout is 4 times higher than the previous record in Australia.
According to The Guardian, the large sum of money is purposefully large, as Justice John Dixon had this to say.
"Unless substantial damages are awarded there is a real risk that the public will not be convinced of the seriousness of the defamation, but will rather wrongly conclude that the articles were trivial or not that serious."
Dixon detailed the large sum of money under 3 main reasons. The first was that Bauer Media did not "properly investigate" the allegations from an anonymous source who was paid out for the information and claimed to be a former classmate with Rebel Wilson.
The second reason that Justice Dixon cited was that the anonymous source seemed to have "an axe to grind" even by the editor of the magazine's own estimations. The third and most important reason was that Woman's Day published the information, knowing that the information was false and wrote stories that were "designed to cast a slur" on Wilson in exchange for clicks and advertising on their sites. The stories were written to coincide with the release of Pitch Perfect 2, which was used to capitalize on Rebel Wilson's popularity at the time to maximize clicks and exposure for their articles.
The anonymous source at Woman's Day and Women's Weekly claimed that Rebel Wilson lied about her age and that she also lied about her name to make it big in Hollywood. The publications were able to milk 8 articles from the source and continued to write things that were obviously not true about the 37-year old actress. This is definitely a big win for Wilson and Australia, but the laws are a lot different in the United States, where Richard Simmons just lost a similar case when publications started reporting that he was transgender. That being said, it has been reported that Bauer Media decided not to settle out of court for $200,000 because they were so sure that they would win the case...Whoops.
When the articles came out, Rebel Wilson laughed them off and poked fun at them on social media, but as the case went to court, the issue was no longer a laughing matter for the actress who showed up every day of the three-week long trial. After news of her win, Wilson tweeted out how happy she was to have won. Wilson had this to say.
"Today was the end of a long and hard court battle against Bauer Media who viciously tried to take me down with a series of false articles. When the jury delivered its verdict they answered every single point in my favor. Today Justice Dixon accepted that Bauer Media subjected me to a sustained and malicious attack timed to coincide with the launch of Pitch Perfect 2."
Rebel Wilson has also said that all of the winnings from the landmark case will go to charity and that she will reinvest the money into the Australian movie industry. Wilson then followed her statements by saying that she was ready to get back to work and to "entertain everybody."