Culture&Arts

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush accused of inappropriate behaviour

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush accused of inappropriate behaviour

In a statement provided by his lawyers, Rush strongly denied any involvement in any inappropriate behaviour.

"In this current environment, "inappropriate behavior" may mean abuse, bullying or other forms of reprehensible activity", his lawyers said in a statement to Page Six.

The Daily Telegraph has subsequently run a story saying two actors who have worked with STC are supporting claims by an actress who has accused Rush of inappropriate touching during the production of "Lear".

Back in 2015 and 2016, Rush was performing in a stage production of Shakespeare's King Lear in the title role, which is where the allegations stem from. "In the circumstances, if such a statement has been issued by the STC it is both irresponsible and highly damaging to say the least".

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Rush said that his attempts to understand the nature of the complaint had failed: "The moment I became aware of rumours of a complaint I immediately phoned and spoke to senior management at the Sydney Theatre Company asking for clarification about the details of the statement", he said. "However, no response was forthcoming", Rush said in a statement.

"Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour", the spokesperson said.

The Sydney company explained it had been asked by a journalist if it had ever received a complaint, and "responded truthfully".

"An accusation that has been made by someone about Geoffery Rush's behaviour".

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Rush's lawyer Nicholas Pullen said it was a "great disappointment" that the STC had "chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation".

In 1993, he appeared in David Mamet's Oleanna, where he played a university professor locked in a tense battle with one of his students, played by Cate Blanchett who was making her major stage debut after graduating from NIDA. His lawyer has spoken with Daily Mail, telling the publication that Rush had never been told about the alleged complaint by STC or the complainant.

Rush won the Oscar for best actor in 1997 for the film "Shine", and has also won an Emmy and a Tony.

"Until there is the decency afforded to Mr Rush of what the "inappropriate behaviour" actually is then there is nothing more that can be said at this stage", Mr Pullen said. According to reports, the allegations were made 21 months ago, although it's not clear why they have only just come to light publicly now.

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For 35 years, Academy-award victor Geoffrey Rush has regularly performed at the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) in Australia.