Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson has won a record A$4.5 million in damages from Bauer Media for defamation.
To many people, this is justice served. To others, it’s just another celebrity circus, a case of biting the hand that feeds you, or maybe that metaphor of a snake eating its own tail.
And for a small number of people, primarily in the media, the result is unfair. This message is for them.
In defamation, legal exposure can be measured in layers. Here are a few examples:
- “Personally, I think David Brown is a liar. I have nothing to support the claim; I just don’t like the cut of his jib.”
- “Someone told me David Brown is a liar. I have no idea why, but take that for what it is.”
- “Someone told me David Brown is a liar. No one else has told me otherwise, so I guess it must be true.”
- “David Brown is a liar. I have seen the evidence. Take my word for it.”
- “David Brown is a liar. Here is the evidence.”
If you can’t tell which of these comments could get you in hot water, you frankly have no business working in the media. If these comments are timed, syndicated, and monetised; if they are used to meet sales targets and fulfil KPIs; would that not go beyond mere “defamation”?
I don’t know if that’s what happened in Rebel Wilson’s case, but suddenly an award for A$4.5 million in damages doesn’t seem so unreasonable.
About today’s photo: Layering up. Yes I know, it’s terrible. I had maybe 12 seconds to do it.