Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has sued The Daily Telegraph for defamation over publishing two stories accusing him of sexually assaulting a fellow actress.
The alleged stories, carried in November and December 2017, suggested that the 66-year-old touched actress Eryn Jean Norvill's genitals on five consecutive nights in 2015 during the production of Sydney Theatre Company's King Lear.
Norvill played Rush's daughter in King Lear. According to The Daily Telegraph, Rush touched Norvill inappropriately during the play's last scene that required him to carry her lifeless body on stage. Norvill reportedly asked him to stop, but he didn't.
In another incident, Rush "stood outside a cubicle" in women's toilet occupied by Norvill and left only after she asked him to "fuck off".
Interestingly, in a 2015 interview with Sydney Morning Herald, Rush had admitted to having a "stage-door Johnny crush" on Norvill. In its defense, The Daily Telegraph claims it published the stories to "support other victims of such misconduct to speak out" and discourage perpetrators.
Rush has been asked to step down as the president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. He says that in connecting him with Harvey Weinstein, the newspaper has caused irreparable harm to "his standing in the entertainment industry and the greater community".