Geoffrey Rush has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Sydney Daily Telegraph after the newspaper published allegations of his supposed “inappropriate behaviour” during a Sydney Theatre Company production of “King Lear” in 2015.
The Oscar-winning actor denies the allegations and filed defamation proceedings against the News Corp publication in the Federal Court of Australia on Friday.
“It is an action I am taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo, and hyperbole they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and greater community,” Rush said during a press conference in Melbourne. “They have splashed spurious claims with bombastic titles on their front pages.”
The original report by the Daily Telegraph, published on November 30, featured on the cover with the headline ‘King Leer’. The article included a statement from the Sydney Theatre Company, which claimed it had received a complaint against Rush for “inappropriate behaviour.”
According to Australia’s ABC News, further details of the accusation were not released, as the complainant requested that the allegation be handled confidentially.
Daily Telegraph editor Chris Dore told the Associated Press that the newspaper would defend their report.
“The Daily Telegraph accurately reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour. We will defend our position in court.”
Rush went on to say the accusation “has created irreparable damage to my reputation, which has been extremely hurtful to my wife, daughter, and my son, as well as to my extended family and many colleagues in the film, television and theatre industries.”
“The King’s Speech” star stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts last week amid the accusations.
“This decision has not been made lightly,” he said in a statement issued by his lawyer. “However, in the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned.”