Rebel Wilson Vs Bauer Media: The Lawsuit

The Pedantic Celebrity Vs The Shameless Media Company: Round One.

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Rebel Wilson [image source: Vogue], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Rebel Wilson [image source: Vogue]

Australia’s comedy queen Rebel Wilson is suing Bauer Media over a series of articles they published last year, which claimed that the actress had lied about her age and background. It was suggested that Wilson was not the 29 year-old ‘bogan’ she claims to be, but instead a 36 year-old alumni of an affluent Sydney private school.

So is it a case of a celebrity throwing a tantrum, or an unscrupulous media company that needs to be taught a lesson?

The Offence

The readership of Bauer Media’s publications, which include Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Weekly, and OK Magazine, have a huge readership in Australia, reaching well into the seven-figure ballpark.

Wilson stated that, following each article, she had “been gravely injured in her feelings, credit and reputation, has been humiliated and embarrassed and has suffered loss and damage”. She added that she had also been turned down for work as a result of the claims.

Further to this, Wilson stated that she was not contacted for a fact-check before the articles were published (although this seems pretty redundant considering the nature of the article).

This kind of content in today’s media isn’t classy. But we still see it everywhere – there’s defamation, a lack of fact-checking, there’s sensationalism – and there’s just plain lying. But it has obviously turned out to be worth it to write the bad thing and then just apologise later once the magazines have been bought and the links have been shared.

So this makes the case for Bauer start to look a little shaky. Then again, there’s…

The Defence

The media aren’t exactly obliged by law to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God. It’s probably in their best interest, and generally a good idea for gaining a loyal readership and a trustworthy reputation. But, if they’re defaming someone under the impression that they’re telling the truth, then they’re not in any huge trouble (yet).

Now that the millions of people with access to the internet also have the ability to write and publish whatever they like online, there’s a huge saturation of content, which is inevitably going to end up being a mix of truths and lies. Basically, Rebel, there are all kinds of people saying what they like about celebrities and about you. Bauer Media aren’t all that different, really – they’re just a bit more high-profile.

Still, emerging with all this content is an audience that is becoming more and more capable of sifting through it and deciding what is actually reliable. So, Rebel: letting people know that Bauer Media probably aren’t serving up the most honest and top-quality news is still a somewhat noble cause.  The more picked-on celebs that speak up, the more people might be inclined to start looking elsewhere for their hard and fast facts. Although, we’re not sure that that’s what people reading celebrity gossip magazines are looking for in the first place, but we digress.

In any case, it seems like Rebel is making herself look a bit less like the laid-back ocker Aussie we’d usually expect, and that she probably needs to be spending less time fighting against Bauer Media and more time finding a good publicist herself.

On another note, I heard from a reliable source that Rebel is actually 42 and was born in Venezuela…