After a co-star in a 2015 production of King Lear made a complaint about his behavior, actor Geoffrey Rush is ‘virtually housebound’, barely eats and wakes up with a ‘terrible sense of dread,’ his lawyer says.
According to the Daily Mail:
The 66-year-old has lost his appetite, struggles to sleep, and has rarely left his home, according to the affidavit tendered to the Federal Court.
He wakes every morning with a ‘terrible sense of dread about his future career’, and feels his worth to the theatre and film industry is irreparably damaged, it said.
When he does venture out in public he feels anxious as he believes people are staring at him in a challenging, frightening and unnerving way.
All of this stems from allegations that Rush touched his Lear co-star several times during the final week of the show in a way that made her uncomfortable, and in a way he hadn’t touched her before.
Defense documents allege the actress was visibly upset and told Rush to stop after the first instance of on-stage touching, which was not scripted, directed or necessary for the performance.
‘Now, she said stop – he didn’t. He went on doing it. Our case is that that in itself is inappropriate,’ he The Telegraph’s lawyer Tom Blackburn SC said.
Rush was also accused of following the actress into the women’s toilet at a restaurant during the cast’s celebration after the final performance.
He allegedly stood outside her toilet stall until she swore at him and told him to leave.
Rush, of course, “strenuously denies” the allegations, calling them “false and demeaning.”
The actor claimed the ‘slurs, innuendo and hyperbole’ caused ‘irreparable damage to my reputation’ and were hurtful to his family.
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER GEOFFREY RUSH SUES: A TIMELINE
Filing the proceedings in the Federal Court means there will be no jury
November 30: The Daily Telegraph newspaper publishes claims on its front page about an alleged complaint about Geoffrey Rush’s ‘inappropriate behaviour’ on the set of the Sydney Theatre Company’s King Lear production in 2015
December 1: The Telegraph publishes a follow-up story about messages of support for the person who made the complaint from others who worked on the production
December 2: Geoffrey Rush voluntarily steps aside as the president of the Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) ‘effective immediately until these issues have been resolved’
December 6: Actress Rachel Griffiths defends the Shine star during a red carpet interview, saying: ‘No one likes to be tried in the publicg square’
December 8: Rush announces he has launched defamation proceedings against The Daily Telegraph as ‘the situation is intolerable’. The Daily Telegraph says it will defend its position in court
February 19: Details were revealed for the first time in court, alleging Rush inappropriately touched his co-star five times in the play’s final week on stage. She claimed to have told him to stop several times
February 20: Further court testimony alleged Rush followed Norvill into the toilets at a wrap party and wouldn’t leave until she swore at him
(Photo: Pacific Coast News)