Celebrity journalism in Australia may never be the same following the extraordinary damages awarded to Rebel Wilson in her defamation case against Bauer Media.
Never again, surely, will a glossy mag or trashy website rush to publish the latest unsubstantiated damaging rumour, at least not if the subject of said rumour is a big earner.
In June, a jury of six found a series of articles published by Bauer’s Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly mastheads, both in print and online, carried the clear imputation that Rebel Wilson was a “serial liar”. The jury also found that Bauer published those articles knowing they were factually incorrect, and that their wide dissemination constituted a “campaign” against the actor timed to maximise website traffic at the time her movie Pitch Perfect 2 was released in May 2015.
In his 136-page damages decision on Wednesday, judge John Dixon ruled that “only a very substantial sum …