Geoffrey Rush, star of this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, has denied allegations of inappropriate behavior brought against him. The actor has been accused by an unidentified person who claims that the inappropriate behavior in question took place while he was working on a production of King Lear for the Sydney Theatre Company. Rush had this to say in his statement about the allegation.
"The moment I became aware of rumors 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. They refused to illuminate me with the details. 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."
Not only is the identity of Geoffrey Rush's accuser not know, but there are virtually no details of what transpired available at this time. "In this current environment, 'inappropriate behavior' may mean abuse, bullying or other forms of reprehensible activity. These are matters that deserve forthright and objective levels of discussion," said Rush's lawyer in a statement. His lawyer added, "It must be made clear from the outset that Mr Rush abhors any form of maltreatment of any person in any form." Here's what the Sydney Theatre Company had to say about the allegation made against Rush.
"Sydney Theatre Company was asked by a News Ltd journalist earlier this month whether it had received a complaint alleging inappropriate behavior by Mr Rush while he was employed by the company. STC responded truthfully that it had received such a complaint. At the time the complaint was made, the complainant requested that the matter be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Mr Rush notified or involved in any investigation. STC complied, acting in the interest of the complainant's health and welfare. As already stated, the Company received the complaint after Mr Rush's engagement had ended. STC has at all times been clear that this was an allegation made to (not by) STC and not a conclusion of impropriety."
The complaint against Geoffrey Rush wasn't made until after his run as King Lear ended in January 2016. According to Rush's lawyer, the complaint was initially made "over 21 months ago." STC has recently deleted a page from their website for the production of King Lear that Rush was involved in. In a statement made by Rush's lawyer, STC is called into question for how they have handled the situation and claim that the company has "chosen to smear his name and have caused unjustifiable damage to his reputation".
"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. At this stage, Mr Rush can only reiterate his statement that he denies having been involved in any 'inappropriate behavior' whatsoever. Until there is the decency afforded to Mr Rush of what the 'inappropriate behavior' actually is then there is nothing more that can be said at this stage. The public and the media need to note this is a highly stressful and frustrating time for Mr Rush and his family, especially when there are no details concerning the 'inappropriate behavior.'"
Geoffrey Rush is one of Hollywood's most respected actors, having been nominated for four Academy Awards and winning Best Actor in 1997 for his role in Shine. Even though this accusation was made 21 months ago, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, any form of inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct has been put under a microscope. The Guardian notes that Rush wasn't made aware of the nature of the allegation by the accuser or STC when it was first made and still hasn't been since. We'll be sure to keep you up to date as more information is made available.