Geoffrey Rush denies allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” during Sydney theatre production

The Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint against the actor over 21 months ago

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 18:  Actor Geoffrey Rush arrives at the premiere of Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' at Dolby Theatre on May 18, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic, BA)

*Updated* Geoffrey Rush to sue Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph for defamation


Geoffrey Rush has announced that he has filed defamation proceedings against Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph for their reporting on allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

“It is an action I am taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

“The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages,” said, adding that the allegations were “extremely hurtful” to his wife, son and daughter.

According to Australia’s ABC News, the Daily Telegraph’s editor has said they will defend their reporting in court.

“The Daily Telegraph accurately reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour,” editor Chris Dore said. “We will defend our position in court.”

Academy Award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has denied allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear, after the company said it had received a complaint about him.

In a statement, Rush’s lawyers said that the 66-year-old actor had not been made aware of the nature of the complaint, which was made to the theatre company over 21 months ago. The play ran from November 2015 to January 2016.

“At this stage, Mr Rush can only reiterate his statement that he denies having been involved in any ‘inappropriate behaviour’ whatsoever,” the statement reads. “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.”

A spokesperson for the STC told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that the company had “received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour”, adding that the complainant had asked for their identity to be withheld, and that Rush would not be notified or involved.

Their statement concluded: “STC has at all times been clear that this was an allegation made to (not by) STC and not a conclusion of impropriety.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Actor Geoffrey Rush (L) and actor Colin Firth arrive at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images, BA)
Rush & Colin Firth at the Academy Awards 2011

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. “They refused to illuminate me with the details.”

He continued: “I also asked why this 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. However, no response was forthcoming.”


Rush’s lawyers went on to admonish the STC for disseminating information about an ambiguous complaint: “It is a great disappointment to Mr Rush the STC has chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation in this way. Not to afford a person their right to know what has been alleged against them, let alone not inform them of it but release such information to the public, is both a denial of natural justice and is not how our society operates.”