News and Commentary

Actor Geoffrey Rush Says False #MeToo Allegation Destroyed His Career

Veteran actor Geoffrey Rush, who won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in “Shine,” says that a false #MeToo allegation has destroyed his life.

According to Deadline, lawyers for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor claim he has become “virtually housebound” due to having his career “irreparably damaged” due to an allegedly false #MeToo accusation against him published in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, which he has now sued for defamation.

Published in February, the Daily Telegraph alleged that Rush engaged in inappropriate behavior with a fellow performer during a production of a Sydney Theatre Company version of “King Lear” in 2015. No details were provided on the allegation and his accuser remained anonymous at the time.

“I asked why the information was being withheld, and why, according to standard theatre practice, the issue had not been raised with me during the production via stage management, the director, my fellow actors or anyone at management level,” Rush said at the time. “However, no response was forthcoming.”

Details of the allegations were finally revealed in court this past February. The actress, Eryn Jean Norvill, alleges that Rush touched her inappropriately on several occasions.

Rush denies all the allegations made against him and claims that he has endured “tremendous emotional and social hardship,” according to legal documents filed in the Federal Court of Australia. He has reportedly eaten little food, has had difficulty sleeping and feels anxious in public. “The applicant has found that as a direct result of the publications he has been constantly associated in Australia and internationally with the #MeToo movement,” his lawyers state.

Geoffrey Rush also left his role as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts in December. More from Deadline:

The tabloid, which is published by News Corp subsidiary Nationwide News, has defended its reports but Rush accused the newspaper of false and “spurious” claims when he filed the defamation suit in December. The newspaper argues that its articles were not defamatory, and that it reported no accusations of a sexual nature. Last month, Justice Michael Wigney struck out large parts of the newspaper’s defence of truth, however. The newspaper has appealed that decision.

Meanwhile, Nationwide News has filed a cross-claim against the Sydney Theatre Company, attempting to make the stage company part of the defamation proceedings and jointly liable in the case of a ruling against the Daily Telegraph. The application says the firm was responsible for providing statements relating to a complaint alleging inappropriate behavior by Rush knowing they would, or would likely, be re-published by the Telegraph.