An attempt from some of Australia’s biggest media organisations to intervene in an appeal against the record $4.5 million defamation payout awarded to actress Rebel Wilson has been denied.
ABC, Fairfax Media, News Corp, Seven, Nine, and Macquarie Media intended to bolster Bauer Media’s appeal against the sum, which was awarded after Wilson successfully argued the magazine giant defamed her across a series of articles in 2016.
Barrister David Collins QC voiced the coalition’s stance that the sum should be reconsidered, as it vastly exceeded previous defamation payouts and may set a precedent discouraging media organisations from pursuing stories for fear of legal action.
But Justice Pamela Tate today sided with Rebel’s barrister Renee Enbom, who argued the media organisations shouldn’t be allowed to step into the case as their arguments were not significantly different from those presented in Bauer Media’s initial appeal.
Taking to Twitter, Wilson celebrated the victory and criticised the other media organisations for attempting to intervene.
Wilson said “they were using their status to try to unfairly unleash bias towards the case,” adding “Bauer’s appeal against the damages award ($!) has nothing to do with restricting free speech or with protecting media freedom […] it’s about holding a company to account when it’s done the wrong thing.”
I obviously don’t hold any negative feelings towards Ch 7, Ch 9, ABC, Fairfax, News Corp & Macquarie Media – I was actually just watching the finale of Married At First Sight online – but guys, please stick to reporting the truth & entertaining Australia!
— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) March 22, 2018
Bauer Media’s initial appeal against the payout is set to be heard in April.