UPDATED with video: Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has filed defamation proceedings in Australia’s federal court, seeking damages from The Daily Telegraph which published allegations the actor behaved inappropriately towards a female cast member during a 2015 production of King Lear. In a brief press conference in Melbourne this afternoon, Rush said he was taking the action “to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community.”
He made the announcement at a press conference (watch it above).
He continued, “The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages. This has created irreparable damage to my reputation, has been extremely hurtful to my wife, my daughter and my son, and to my extended family as well as to many colleagues in the film, television and theater industry.”
Rush called the situation “intolerable” and concluded, “I must now seek vindication of my good name through the courts.”
Rush, who has denied the allegations, last week voluntarily stepped down as President of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts saying, said “It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.” At the AACTA Awards on Wednesday night, fellow Aussie Rachel Griffiths came to his defense. “I will say that Geoffrey Rush is not Harvey Weinstein,” she noted, referencing the disgraced producer. “And I’ve had more than a handful of interactions with Harvey Weinstein.”
The News Corp-owned Daily Telegraph for its part said it is standing by its reporting. Editor Christopher Dore said, “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.”
The newspaper has covered the story in print at least nine times since last week, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. It relates also that journalists at Melbourne’s Herald Sun were told not to tweet the Telegraph‘s story because it was “highly libelous.”
Here’s Rush’s full statement:
Today I have filed defamation proceedings against The Daily Telegraph in the Federal Court of Australia. 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.
The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims – splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages.
This has created irreparable damage to my reputation, been extremely hurtful to my wife, my daughter and my son; to my extended family — and to many colleagues in the Film, Television and Theatre industry.
The situation is intolerable and I must now seek vindication of my good name through the courts.