Commercial firm ends ‘Pitch Perfect’ star’s defamation case on a high note

The Hollywood star prevailed against a Germany-based global media giant

Commercial firm ends ‘Pitch Perfect’ star’s defamation case on a high note
Corrs Chambers Westgarth may be known for its corporate and commercial work, and how happy its in-house counsel are – but it’s proving to have the litigation chops.

The firm has successfully represented comedian and actress Rebel Wilson in a defamation suit against Bauer Media, a Germany-based global media giant.

On 15 June, a jury sided with the “Pitch Perfect” star on every element of her claim, finding articles published in Woman’s Day, the Australian Women’s Weekly, and other Bauer Media publications in 2015 were defamatory and untrue. Some of the stories were motivated by malice, the jury found.

The 37-year-old Wilson sued when the publications released stories that alleged she lied about her age and background to benefit her Hollywood career. Damages, which could amount in the millions, will be assessed this week. Damages are capped below $400,000 in Australia, but if a party can prove they’ve lost business, such as a movie contract, they may be awarded special damages.

“The media has a critical role to play in our society. But freedom of the press doesn’t justify chequebook journalism or plagiarism. The jury accepted that Bauer’s magazines engaged in a calculated campaign to capitalise on Rebel Wilson’s public success. Even on the eve of trial, they published a story about her that was simply a fabrication. The jury accepted that their claims were defamatory and untrue,” said Richard Leder, Corrs’ lead partner on the matter.

“Rebel Wilson pursued her claim because the defamatory publications cost her movie roles and seriously damaged her career. With the international publicity attracted by the case and her successful outcome, her reputation and her honesty has been vindicated. The support she received during the trial was also extremely reaffirming for her,” he added.

Related stories:
Australian firm tops Big Six, APAC rivals in client survey
Top-tier firm snags infrastructure and projects team from global giant

Free newsletter

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter service and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest breaking news, cutting edge opinion, and expert analysis affecting both your business and the industry as whole.

Please enter your email address below and click on Sign Up for daily newsletters from Australasian Lawyer.

Recent articles & video

HSF managing partner embraces innovation and technology in a COVID-19 world

Carter Newell strengthens insurance team with new special counsel

US BigLaw firm cuts associates despite government loan

Deadline closing in for In-House Leaders 2020

Women dominate 2020 promotions at Cooper Grace Ward

HFW and KPMG ally to offer legal assistance to COVID-19-hit businesses

Most Read Articles

Clayton Utz rings in new financial year with new deputy chief executive partners

$65m equity raising for ASX-listed tech company sees completion with K&L Gates’s help

Baker McKenzie appoints seven to practice and industry leaders in APAC

Mills Oakley welcomes three to partnership in major promotion round