Lawyers have argued that allegations made by Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph against Geoffrey Rush were “motivated to harm” the actor.
Rush is suing the Telegraph for defamation after they published a number of articles late last year accusing him of “inappropriate behaviour” during a Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of “King Lear” in 2015.
According to The Guardian, the 66-year-old actor’s lawyers filed new documents in the federal court this week which claim the Telegraph published the articles “predominantly for the improper motive of harming” Rush.
The documents also state that the theatre company had told the newspaper that the actress who made the complaint was “distressed and extremely fragile,” and that the company “took the view that it was the complainant’s story to tell it at a time of her choosing and on her own terms.”
“Notwithstanding that, the [Telegraph] still published the matters complained of… because they were motivated to harm rather than to support the alleged complainant,” Rush’s lawyers state.
Furthermore, the documents claim that the theatre company provided a statement to the Telegraph which explained that the complaint was “made to the STC, not by the STC, and was not a conclusion of impropriety.”
The newspaper neglected to include that information in its articles, and instead claimed that “two STC sources said the company stood by [the complainant’s] claims.”
As reported by The Guardian, a judge has ordered the Telegraph to inform Rush by July 23 whether it “maintain[ed] any defence” of qualified privilege.