Rebel Wilson's defamation trial against publisher begins

Posted May 23, 2017

It was an odd sight for a place used to hearing gruesome detail about some of Victoria's worst crimes.

In the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday, Wilson described how a hallucination she'd had about winning an Oscar while she was feverish with malaria had prompted her to become an actor.

Rebel is seeking unspecified damages from the publisher.

He said she was sacked from two films, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda 3, and unable to secure future work.

She told the court Wilson had told Overington her auntie had been married to Walt Disney, giving her open access to Disneyland as a child.

Opening her case before an all-female six member jury, Dr Matthew Collins, QC, said the campaign effectively ended Wilson's film career.

"She had never been hit with such nastiness, timed for the high point of her career", he said. "This publisher refused to let the facts get in the way of a good story", he said.

Emails between the reporter who wrote the original article, Shari Nementzik, and the supposed source of the story were also read out.

Documents shown to the jury reveal the article's author, Shari Nementzik, and the magazine's editor-in-chief, Fiona Connolly, had expressed concerns about being sued over it.

The articles published by Bauer made it seem as though Rebel purposely lied about her upbringing in Australia, her age, and more.

As the court adjourned for lunch, Ms Wilson could be heard commenting to her solicitor about the courage it might have taken the only two jurors who asked to be excused.

"The phone just stopped ringing", he said.

The Bridesmaids actor arrived in Melbourne last week before the expected three-week trial.

However, she said all that changed after the Bauer articles were published.

However, Georgina Schoff QC, representing Bauer Media, claimed Wilson told "tall tales" about her working class childhood and said it wasn't true that she had "grown up in a ghetto", claiming she actually went to an "elite private boarding school".

The Pitch Perfect star launched legal action against Bauer Media executives in May 2016 after a number of their publications in her native Australia featured reports suggesting she had lied about her background such as her age, real name, and upbringing.

The story Woman's Day "tore down Rebel to sell magazines" first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.