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Australian publisher to challenge record Rebel Wilson payout

Actress Rebel Wilson arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California, on February 28, 2016. (File photo by Reuters)
SYDNEY: A leading publisher said Monday it would appeal Australia’s largest defamation payout awarded to Hollywood actor Rebel Wilson as the “unprecedented” amount had major implications for the media industry.
The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded Aus$4.5 million ($3.5 million) in damages against Bauer Media by an Australian court last month over magazine articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.
“It’s important for us to revisit this unprecedented decision on the quantum of damages, which also has broad implications for the media industry,” Bauer Media’s General Counsel Adrian Goss said in a brief statement.
In his ruling, Supreme Court of Victoria Justice John Dixon said Bauer — which owns magazines Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan — had “acted in its own corporate interests to secure improved circulation, or increased views/hits.”
Bauer argued the allegations made in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015 were true and denied they had damaged 37-year-old Wilson’s reputation.
Bauer’s parent company, Bauer Media Group, is a worldwide publishing house based in Hamburg with magazine titles in 15 countries including Britain, the US, China and Russia, as well as various television and radio assets.
Wilson has said that she would give the defamation payout to charity.