Geoffrey Rush’s life imploded when he was accused of sexual misconduct by a newspaper, in Sydney, Australia. It was reported by the outlet that he had acted inappropriately toward an actress, and Mr. Rush was furious. The actor subsequently filed a defamation lawsuit.
Mr. Rush, 67, sued The Daily Telegraph and journalist, Jonathon Moran, over two stories appearing in the paper as well as a poster in the final months of 2017. Michael Wigney, the Federal Court Justice in Australia, ruled that Mr. Geoffrey had been wronged.
Wigney awarded the legendary actor $850,000 Australian dollars in damages. Rush’s lawyers will return to court on the 10th of May to determine compensation for damages as well as monetary compensation for lost jobs and other opportunities.
The Daily Telegraph previously reported that Rush had acted inappropriately toward his co-star, Eryn Jean Norvill when they worked together on the 2016 production King Lear for the Sydney Theatre Company. His lawyer, Bill McClintock said to the judge during the 21-day trial that Rush would probably never get a job again as a consequence of the reports.
Speaking with reporters, Rush said no one won in the case. It was extremely stressful and taxing for everyone involved.
Rush claimed the outlet portrayed him as a pervert and sexual predator, even using the headline, “King Leer,” a pun of the play in which he starred, King Lear.
Wigney, in reference to the report from The Daily Telegraph, said that it was “sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind,” and it’s hard to conceive of this report as not being designed specifically to cause irreparable damage to a person’s reputation.
Norvill never actually spoke to the newspaper before the articles were published, but agreed to testify for the newspaper at the trial. The 34-year-old actress accused Rush of stroking his right hand across her right breast and down to her hip during a preview performance in which she was playing dead.
Rush denied that he purposefully touched her breast, and also her lower back. He also denied making gestures and other sexual remarks toward her.