The King’s Speech star Geoffrey Rush has stepped down as President of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) following allegations of “inappropriate behavior” during an Australian stage production of the Shakespeare play King Lear.
Oscar-winner Rush, who has also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean and Munich, “voluntarily” resigned from the organization after the allegations earlier this week. He was appointed as President of the group in August 2011.
“AACTA acknowledges the decision today of Geoffrey Rush to voluntarily step aside as President of AACTA and accepts and respects his decision to do so. We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances,” AACTA said in a statement.
Rush vigorously denied the allegations after the Sydney Theatre Company said it received a complaint of alleged misconduct that occurred for months during the production, which ended in January 2016.
In a statement issued via his lawyer, Rush said: “Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community. It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.”
“In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTA effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved. This decision has not been made lightly. 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.”