Daily Mail fights $150k defamation loss

·2-min read

A defamation win awarding Sky News broadcaster Erin Molan $150,000 is under threat with publisher Daily Mail Australia launching an appeal.

This follows a Federal Court decision finding a June 2020 Daily Mail article and two related Tweets were defamatory.

The article falsely portrayed Molan as a racist for saying "hooka looka mooka hooka fooka" on 2GB in May 2020, Justice Robert Bromwich found.

When the judgment was handed down on August 30, the publisher expressed its disappointment in the findings and said it was considering an appeal.

That was followed through when the Daily Mail filed an appeal on Tuesday, with the case now set to go before a three-judge panel in the Full Federal Court.

In August, Justice Bromwich said the Daily Mail showed a lack of responsibility and basic professionalism in publishing the defamatory article.

He awarded Molan $150,000 in damages, saying that should sufficiently "sting" the publisher for its conduct.

In defending the case, she took umbrage with the statement that she "deliberately mocked the names of Pacific Islanders on air".

The 40-year-old denied it was a jibe against Polynesian names, that she was deliberately mispronouncing them for a laugh or speaking in an accent during the broadcast.

Rather, the former 2GB rugby league show co-host said the long-running joke was making light of Ray and Chris Warren mixing up the end of players' names and she was "poking fun of her colleagues", she told the Federal Court.

Justice Bromwich said that Molan bears responsibility for being at least thoughtless as to how someone else might interpret what she was saying without the context of that story.

He said Molan showed a lack of contrition and her deficient insight about the effect of her mocking was "tellingly revealed" when she compared it to being "teased in the playground or by her co-hosts".