Australian actor Geoffrey Rush said on Friday he had filed a defamation lawsuit against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper after it published a report about a complaint alleging inappropriate conduct. The newspaper article last month said an Australian theatre company had received a complaint about “inappropriate behaviour” following the production of King Lear two years ago in which Rush was the star.
Rush has denied any wrongdoing and said he was never told of the complaint at the time. Details of the complaint have not been made public. “They have splashed spurious claims with bombastic titles on their front pages,” the Oscar-winning actor said in a brief press conference in Melbourne. “This has created irreparable damage to my reputation,” he added. “This situation is intolerable and I must now seek vindication of my good name through the courts in Australia.”
The Daily Telegraph Editor Chris Dore said in a statement to Reuters that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp-run newspaper will defend itself. “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,” Dore said. Rush’s lawsuit said he was seeking damages and a restraint on further publication on the matter.
Last week, Rush voluntarily stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television until the matter is resolved. Australian show business identities have come to his defence, including fellow Australian actor Rachel Griffiths. Rush’s film credits include Shine,The King’s Speech and Pirates of the Caribbean.