Rebel Wilson ordered to pay back $3 million plus interest

Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson vowed after the initial judgment to give any payout to charity and the Australian film industry. (AFP)
Updated 27 June 2018

Rebel Wilson ordered to pay back $3 million plus interest

SYDNEY: Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson was ordered to return almost $3.1 million with interest to an Australian publisher Wednesday after a defamation payout was slashed on appeal.
The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded A$4.5 million ($3.3 million) in damages against Bauer Media last September over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.
It was the largest defamation win in Australian legal history and Bauer appealed, arguing the size of the settlement set a dangerous precedent and there were errors of law in the judgment.
The Victorian Court of Appeal agreed and cut the payout to just A$600,000 earlier this month in a decision the actress called “absolutely flippant.”
Bauer had already handed over the money and the Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered Wilson to repay nearly A$4.2 million, including costs and more than A$60,000 in interest.
The star did not dispute that the money needed to be returned but argued the interest should be charged at the prevailing Reserve Bank cash rate of 1.5 percent, rather than the two percent sought by Bauer.
The appeal court disagreed and ordered interest be paid at the higher rate.
Wilson vowed after the initial judgment to give any payout to charity and the Australian film industry. It is not clear whether she has already done so.
She had claimed a series of articles in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015 had portrayed her as a serial liar and damaged her reputation.
The Sydney-born actress told the trial she was sacked from DreamWorks animated feature films “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda 3” following the stories.
But the Court of Appeal said there was no basis for her to receive financial damages for the potential loss of roles.
It found that the previous judge had relied on evidence from Wilson and two Hollywood agents to draw the conclusion that she had lost job opportunities.


What We Are Reading Today: Conscience by Patricia S. Churchland

Updated 26 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Conscience by Patricia S. Churchland

  • Churchland brings together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture

In her brilliant work Touching a Nerve, Patricia S. Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, drew from scientific research on the brain to understand its philosophical and ethical implications for identity, consciousness, free will, and memory, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

In Conscience, she explores how moral systems arise from our physical selves in combination with environmental demands.

All social groups have ideals for behavior, even though ethics vary among different cultures and among individuals within each culture. In trying to understand why, Churchland brings together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture. 

She shows how children grow up in society to learn, through repetition and rewards, the norms, values, and behavior that their parents embrace.

Conscience delves into scientific studies, particularly the fascinating work on twins, to deepen our understanding of whether people have a predisposition to embrace specific ethical stands.