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Rebel Wilson defamation damages payout slashed almost $4m on appeal

14 June 2018

Bauer Media, publisher of Women's Day, has had a major victory on appeal in its defamation case with actress Rebel Wilson, with Victoria's Court of Appeal cutting the payout from $4.5 million to $600,000.

Australian actress Rebel Wilson speaks to the media out the front of the Victorian Supreme Court after a jury of six has returned unanimous verdicts in favour of Wilson against Bauer Media.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Melbourne on Thursday and Wilson was not present in court for the ruling. The legal process has run its course and Bauer welcomes the court's decision to set aside the entire award of damages for economic loss.

A number of media companies - including Nine Entertainment, the publisher of this website - attempted to join Bauer Media in its appeal against the award to Wilson.

Wilson was originally awarded $4.5m last September, which was the biggest defamation payout in Australian history.

'The trial judge erred in finding the plaintiff had established, on the balance of probabilities, the loss of an opportunity to earn US$15 million from being cast in lead or co-lead roles in three feature films, ' the judgement said.

At the time, Wilson tweeted she would be donating the money to Australian charities and supporting the Australian film industry with the money.

She wrote that she had "already won the case" and that the case was more about clearing her name than making money.

The actress is now filming in Europe, and ahead of the decision, took to Twitter last night to say that regardless of the level of payout, she had won the case.

Speaking on behalf of Bauer Media, General Counsel, Adrian Goss, said in a statement: "It was important for us to revisit the award of damages".

The Court of Appeal is yet to determine costs.

Rebel Wilson defamation damages payout slashed almost $4m on appeal