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)
Updated 09 October 2017
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Australian publisher to challenge record Rebel Wilson payout

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.


Oman author Jokha Alharthi wins Booker International Prize

Arabic author Jokha Alharthi (L) and translator Marilyn Booth pose after winning the Man Booker International Prize for the book 'Celestial Bodies' in London on May 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 5 min 41 sec ago
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Oman author Jokha Alharthi wins Booker International Prize

  • The prize is a counterpart to the Man Booker Prize for English-language novels and is open to books in any language that have been translated into English

LONDON: Omani author Jokha Alharthi won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize on Tuesday for “Celestial Bodies,” the story of three sisters in a desert country confronting its slave-owning past and a complex modern world.
Alharthi is the first Arabic-language writer to get the prize and the first female writer from Oman to be translated into English. She will split the 50,000 pound ($64,000) purse with her UK-based translator, Marilyn Booth.
Historian Bettany Hughes, who led the judging panel, said the “lyrical” winning novel was “a book to win over the head and the heart in equal measure.”
“Celestial Bodies” confronts Oman’s history of slavery, which was abolished in the country only in 1970.
“It’s a sensitive subject and kind of a taboo,” Alharthi said in onstage interview at the awards ceremony in London. “But I think literature is the best platform to discuss sensitive issues. And slavery is not exclusive to Oman — it’s part of human history.”
She said her victory meant “a window has been opened to Arabic literature.”
“Celestial Bodies” beat five other finalists from Europe and South America, including last year’s winner, Olga Tokarczuk of Poland.
The prize is a counterpart to the Man Booker Prize for English-language novels and is open to books in any language that have been translated into English.
This is the final year of sponsorship by investment firm Man Group PLC, which is halting backing after 18 years. Starting next year the award will be known as the International Booker Prize.