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Actor Geoffrey Rush awarded $1.9 million in #MeToo defamation lawsuit

#HimToo

Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Actor Geoffrey Rush has been awarded $1.9 million in a lawsuit he filed against Australia's Nationwide News, which published claims that he'd engaged in sexual misconduct against a young actress.

Rush originally sought $25 million in damages, and won more than $600,000 in damages in a defamation suit in April.

What are the details?

The story, which was published in the company's Daily Telegraph, detailed allegations made by actress Eryn Jean Norvill, who starred alongside Rush in Shakespeare's "King Lear," which ran in Sydney, Australia, between 2015 and 2016.

Rush vehemently denied all allegations brought forward by Norvill, who said that the actor reportedly touched her inappropriately and sexually harassed her. Despite his denial, Rush stepped down as president of Australia's screen industry academy following the complaints.

"In the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned," he said at the time.

According to the BBC, this is the "largest ever defamation payout to a single person in Australia."

Australia's Justice Michael Wigney said, "This was a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind," noting that Norvill had been "prone to exaggeration."

What else?

"Orange is the New Black" star Yael Stone also alleged that Rush acted inappropriately toward her in an incident that reportedly took place in 2010.

Stone, who co-starred alongside Rush in 2010's "The Diary of a Madman," said Rush danced naked in front of her and engaged in other inappropriate behaviors while the two were on set.

"I was sitting at the mirrors and he came in from the shower holding his towel and he was naked and he danced around in front of me with his penis out," she explained.

Rush said that any of his actions were likely taken out of context.

In a statement to ABC, he said:

From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context.

However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work.

I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention.

When we performed in The Diary Of A Madman 8 years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades.

Over the years we have shared correspondence that always contained a mutual respect and admiration.

As I have said in the past, I abhor any behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.
One last thing…
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