Australian actress Rebel Wilson said she lost jobs because of articles claiming she was a liar, and now she has won her libel lawsuit over those articles.
“I had to stand up to a bully, a huge media organisation, Bauer Media, who maliciously took me down in 2015 with a series of grubby and completely false articles,” Wilson said outside of court, according to the BBC. iMediaEthics has contacted Wilson’s lawyer for a response to the ruling and to ask if she has any other cases against the media ongoing.
Australia’s Bauer Media claimed Wilson lied about how old she was, what her birth name was, what her parents did for a living, if she was related to Walt Disney, among other claims, the Associated Press reported.
The eight articles Wilson sued over were published by Bauer Media’s Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK Magazine, as iMediaEthics reported last month. Wilson’s lawsuit said no reporter for any Bauer publication contacted her before publication.
The first article in question was the May 2015 Woman’s Day story headlined, “Just who is the REAL Rebel?” It was based on information provided by an anonymous source who Woman’s Day paid Australian $2000 to interview, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
iMediaEthics has contacted Bauer Media to confirm the AUS$2000 payment and ask if it plans to appeal the verdict. Bauer Media said in a statement: “Bauer Media will consider its options following today’s verdict at the Victorian Supreme Court. We have no further comment to make at this time.”
Woman’s Day‘s reporter for the article, Shari Nementzik, testified it was standard practice for celebrity magazines to pay for interviews, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Nementzik confirmed in court she didn’t contact Wilson before publication and claimed the article was supposed to be “fun.” Nementzik no longer works for Woman’s Day, but is still with Bauer Media as Features Director for Cosmopolitan Australia.
Bauer Media stood by its articles as “substantially true, trivial, and did not affect Ms Wilson’s acting career,” the BBC summarized.
The Australian judge, Justice John Dixon, will rule later on how much financial penalty Bauer must pay, according to the Associated Press. Wilson posted on Instagram about her victory.
Just crushed my defamation case in Australia x thank you to all my family, friends and supporters! I had to take a stand. I had to stand up to a bully, a media organization Bauer Media Group who maliciously took me down in May 2015 with a series of grubby and completely false articles. Far too often tabloid magazines and the ‘journalists’ who work for them don’t abide by professional ethics. Far too often their conduct can only be described as disgraceful and disgusting! I’m glad that the lovely ladies of the jury have agreed with me. Their unanimous and overwhelming verdict has sent a clear message. I love my job as an actress and as an entertainer and I look forward to rebuilding my career now that the record has been set straight. Thank you so much everybody!
UPDATED: 6/15/2017 8:12 PM EST With Bauer statement