14 September 2017

"Unprecedented in
defamation litigation..."

Woman's Day
Actress Rebel Wilson was awarded $4.5 million in damages by an Australian court yesterday. She had sued Bauer Media for defamation after one of its magazines accused her of lying about her age. In a 25 May 2015 article headlined "Just who was the REAL Rebel?", Woman's Day alleged that Wilson had changed her name to hide her true background. Setting the highest damages ever awarded in an Australian defamation case, the judge described the publication as "unprecedented in defamation litigation in this country" as the article received wide distribution online.

The case is likely to set a precedent similar to that of the PJS injunction in the UK, which established that the publication of kiss-and-tell stories could no longer be justified. Earlier this year, Melania Trump won substantial damages for defamation from the Daily Mail newspaper, and Kate Middleton was awarded damages for invasion of privacy in France. In America, however, the 'actual malice' requirement makes defamation cases against celebrities almost unheard of.