Geoffrey Rush Wins Record-Breaking Payout In Defamation Case Against News Corp-Owned Oz Outlet After Harassment Allegations

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Geoffrey Rush has won the largest ever defamation payment awarded to a single person in Australia after a court found Sydney’s Daily Telegraph defamed the actor by accusing him of inappropriate behavior towards a former co-star.

The Oscar-winning actor was awarded A$2.9M ($2M) by a local court. Last month, Rush won the defamation case and News Corp-owned publisher Nationwide News was ordered to pay at least A$850,000 – this payout is far bigger, although Rush was originally seeking A$25M in damages.

The Telegraph’s 2017 splash, published under the headline ‘King Leer’, reported the Sydney Theatre Company had received an anonymous complaint against Oscar-winner Rush. The paper followed this up with additional stories about a pattern of untoward behavior.

Rush sued the newspaper and writer Jonathon Moran, claiming the articles portrayed him as a “pervert” and a “sexual predator”. The stories were initially written without the permission or involvement of the alleged victim, later revealed to be his King Lear co-star Eryn Norvill. However, Norvill would go on to allege a daily pattern of sexual harassment during the production’s run.

Judge Michael Wigney said Norvill was “prone to exaggeration” and called the reporting a “recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of … the very worst kind”.

Rush’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou said the newspaper had shown a “complete lack of impartiality and lack of commercial sense” but the paper’s barrister Tom Blackburn hit back, saying that Rush was “trying to shut down any criticism of the judgment”.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/05/geoffrey-rush-defamation-1202621383/