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'Orange is the New Black' star accuses Geoffrey Rush of sexual misconduct


Yael Stone alleges that the Australian actor behaved inappropriately toward her during a 2010 production

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has denied allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by Yael Stone, who co-starred with him in "The Diary of a Madman" play in 2010.

Stone, 33, said on Australian Broadcasting Company's "7:30" show that Rush had danced naked in front of her in her dressing room, and also engaged in other inappropriate behaviors over the course of the production.

"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 told ABC.

The accusations come as the 67-year-old actor is awaiting a verdict in the defamation lawsuit he filed against Nationwide News and a journalist in Australia.

What did Stone say happened?

Stone, who's best known for her role as Lorna Morella on Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," told ABC that Rush made sexual advances toward her during the 2010 production.

He was 59 at the time.

The actress has claimed that she received text messages from Rush that became "increasingly sexual in nature."

"I was very willing to accommodate all this behavior, I was enthusiastically trying to keep up with this banter," Stone, who was 25 at the time, admitted to ABC.

"I didn't know how to respond to someone who was so much my senior, who has so much power in the industry," Stone added.

In another incident, the actress said she caught Rush spying on her while she showered.

"I looked up and saw a small shaving mirror being held over the top of the cubicle, to be used in a way to look down at my naked body," she said. "I believe it was made in the spirit of a joke. The fact is, it made me incredibly uncomfortable."

Stone said she never complained about Rush's behavior because she feared it would negatively affect her career.

"Whenever women, particularly, speak about issues like this, their career generally suffers," she told ABC. "I've factored that into my calculations and if that happens I think it's worth it."

What did Rush say?

Rush wrote in a statement to ABC that his behavior had been taken out of context.

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.

What about the defamation suit?

Two articles and a newspaper poster published last year alleged that Rush had behaved inappropriately during a production of "King Lear" in Sydney in 2015 and 2016, The Associated Press reported.

Rush, an Oscar-winning actor, has denied the allegations. He stepped down as president of Australia's screen industry academy last December following the complaints about his behavior.

"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.

The judge in the case is expected to issue a decision next year.

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