SYDNEY, NSW (CelebrityAccess) — Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has won a defamation lawsuit against an Australian tabloid newspaper and journalist that he claims smeared his character with a #MeToo story.
According to the Associated Press, Rush sued The Daily Telegraph’s publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran over two stories and a poster that the newspaper ran in 2017. The stories alleged that Rush acted inappropriately towards a co-star Eryn Jean Norvill during a production of “King Lear” by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2015 and 2016.
Australian Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney sided with Rush and his claim that he had been defamed and awarded an initial payment of 850,000 Australian dollars ($610,000) in damages. Attorneys will return to court in May when the judge will determine additional damages for economic loss and other expenses such as legal fees, the AP reported.
Lawyers for the Telegraph argued that the allegations in the story were “substantially true” but the judge did not allow them to proceed with a “truth” defense, noting that the allegations in the paper were too vague to Rush to refute.
In his suit, Rush’s attorney claimed that the actor may never work again as the allegations in the paper may result in the loss of employment, either because the allegations reduced job offers or through his own damaged confidence, the AP reported.
Rush is noted for his roles in movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The King’s Speech.” Rush is one of the few actors to hold a “triple crown of acting” and has earned an Oscar (for his portrayal of David Helfgott in the 1997 film “Shine”), a Primetime Emmy (for the 2005 miniseries “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”), and a Tony Award for Best Actor (for the 2009 play “Exit the King”).