SYDNEY – Australian actor Geoffrey Rush said on Friday he has filed a defamation lawsuit against The Daily Telegraph after it reported his allegedly inappropriate behavior during a theatre production in Sydney.
A report of the 66-year old Oscar-winning actor’s inappropriate behavior towards a female cast during a “King Lear” production of the Sydney Theater Company between Nov. 2015 and Jan. 2016 was published in The Daily Telegraph on Nov. 30.
“The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims – splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages,” Rush said at a press conference in Melbourne on Friday.
The suit was filed in a Federal Court on the grounds that the newspaper had caused irreparable damage to his reputation, according to the actor who won the Academy Award in 1997 for his role in the film “Shine,” and also known for playing Captain Hector Barbossa in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
In the wake of The Daily Telegraph’s report, Rush stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) last week and did not attend its awards ceremony.
Neither the identity of the victim nor the nature of the allegations – which Rush denied – were revealed by the media.
A Sydney Theater Company spokesperson said the person who filed the complaint requested confidentiality and did not want Rush to be notified or involved in an investigation, according to local broadcaster ABC.
Rush’s attorney wrote to the newspaper that the Sydney Theater Company never approached his client to address the issue, nor did the alleged victim or her representative.