Geoffrey Rush sues Sydney newspaper over theater story

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush arrives for the screening of the film 'Final Portrait' at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. Rush is suing a Sydney newspaper for allegedly portraying him as a sexual predator in its reporting of an actress's complaint of "inappropriate behavior" against the Oscar-winning actor. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Geoffrey Rush is suing a Sydney newspaper for allegedly portraying him as a sexual predator in its reporting of an actress's complaint against the Oscar-winning actor

CANBERRA, Australia — Geoffrey Rush is suing a Sydney newspaper for allegedly portraying him as a sexual predator in its reporting of an actress's complaint of "inappropriate behavior" against the Oscar-winning actor.

The Daily Telegraph's reporting and advertising over the past week carried the defamatory meanings that the 66-year-old Australian actor was a "pervert" and a "sexual predator" while starring in the Sydney Theatre Company's production of "King Lear" two years ago, according to documents filed in the Australian Federal Court on Friday.

The case cites headlines including "King Leer" and "Star's Bard Behavior" plus an advertising poster: "Geoffrey Rush in Scandal Claims."

The News Corp. masthead broke the story last week that the Sydney Theatre Company had confirmed receiving the complaint. The company has released no details of the complaint other than to say the allegation involved "inappropriate behavior" while Rush was an employee and was not raised until after he had left. Rush has denied any misconduct.

Rush told a news conference at his lawyer's Melbourne office that the newspaper's reporting had damaged his reputation and hurt his family and colleagues. He did not take questions.

"It is an action I am taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community," Rush read from a prepared statement.

The Daily Telegraph editor Chris Dore said in a statement that his newspaper had accurately reported that the theater had received the complaint.

"We will defend our position in court," Dore said.

Rush's lawyer Nicholas Pullen did not specify the damages that Rush was seeking.

"It is certainly the desire of Mr. Rush to have this matter heard as quickly as possible in order to vindicate his name," Pullen said.

Last weekend, Rush stepped down as president of the Australian screen academy over media reports that he described as containing "untenable allegations."

His court documents reveal that he had been asked to step aside ahead of the academy's annual awards this week.

The defamatory meanings listed in the court action include that Rush had inappropriately touched an actress in "King Lear" and that his behavior was so serious that the company would never work with him again.

Rush has performed at the Sydney Theatre Company for 35 years. He won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for "Shine" and has three other Oscar nominations. He is perhaps best known as Captain Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

Related News

After Rio, Olympics headed for Asian venues seen...

Aug 22, 2016

The next three Olympics are headed for relatively calmer ports of call in Asia following the drama...

'The Assassin' star Shu Qi marries HK...

Sep 3, 2016

"The Assassin" star Shu Qi surprised fans and the public by announcing Saturday that she has...

Wham!'s influence felt in China after landmark...

Dec 26, 2016

George Michael's death brought back memories in China of the heady 1980s when Wham! was the first...

Frigid northern China hosts snow and ice...

Jan 5, 2017

The city of Harbin in China's frigid northeast is hosting one of the world's largest festivals...

South Korean cinema leads nominees at Asian Film...

Jan 11, 2017

South Korean cinema has fared well in the nominations for the Asian Film Awards

Hong Kong actor Andy Lau injured while working in...

Jan 18, 2017

Hong Kong actor Andy Lau has been injured while working in Thailand

You may also like these

'The Assassin' star Shu Qi marries HK...

Sep 3, 2016

"The Assassin" star Shu Qi surprised fans and the public by announcing Saturday that she has...

China's Recon buys $100M majority stake in...

Feb 24, 2017

China's footprint in Hollywood is expanding following a wire and cable maker's purchase of a...

Pink diamond fetches record $71.2M in Hong Kong...

Apr 5, 2017

The "Pink Star," a stunning 59.6 carat diamond, has sold for $71.2 million at a Sotheby's auction...

China opens movie theater on disputed South China...

Jul 24, 2017

China has opened a state-of-the-art movie theater on disputed Woody Island in the South China Sea's...

Pomp and flattery: Asia rolls out the red carpets...

Nov 9, 2017

From red carpets to elaborate dinners, Asian leaders are working overtime to woo President Donald...