BAUER Media has been ordered to pay more than $4.5 million in damages to Australian actress Rebel Wilson.
The Hollywood actress and comedian sued the German-owned magazine company for publishing a series of defamatory stories in 2015.
In June, a six-person jury found that Wilson was defamed by Bauer Media in eight articles because they branded her as a serial liar.
Wilson's lawyer Richard Leder says the payout is the largest ever ordered by an Australian court for a defamation case.
"Today's verdict is a significant record. It's about four times the highest previous verdict in a defamation case in Australia," says Leder outside of the Supreme Court in Melbourne.
"I think she's going to be absolutely stoked and she'll probably say she crushed it."
The $4.5 million payout is a couple of million shy of the $7 million Wilson and her lawyers expected after she successfully sued the publisher behind Woman's Day.
In awarding the record damages, Justice John Dixon said the extent of the defamation was unprecedented in Australia, thanks to the international reach of the articles.
The huge payout can also be attributed to the fact that Wilson missed out on a number of highly lucrative film contracts.
Wilson said she would use the funds to create scholarships, invest in Australia's film industry, and donate some money to charity.
Dixon harshly criticised Bauer Media for their handling of the situation and for publishing claims made about Wilson despite knowing they were untrue and defamatory.
"They repeated the offending allegations when they knew or foresaw that their defamatory slurs would be repeated in the entertainment and celebrity media," says Dixon.
"Their conduct was orchestrated, it was a campaign designed to cast a slur on Ms Wilson, that would attract interest."
"Bauer Media published to advance its own corporate interests, to improve its circulation, or increase views, hits, in the expectation of high profits."
After Wilson won her defamation case in June, chief executive of Bauer Media Nick Chan stepped down.
Chan departed less than a year after starting as chief executive and did not work for the company when the articles were published.
Business News Australia
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