Geoffrey Rush denies claims during theatre production
Geoffrey Rush has denied accusations of his "inappropriate behaviour" while starring in King Lear in Sydney.
The 66-year-old actor starred in the Sydney Theatre Company's (STC) production of William Shakespeare's play between November 2015 to January 2016.
A spokesperson for the company told Australia's The Daily Telegraph newspaper that the allegations of Rush's misconduct reportedly took place over a time period of several months, although it's not clear whether or not that included rehearsal time too.
“Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour,” the spokesperson said. "The Company received the complaint when Mr Rush’s engagement with the Company had ended. The Company continues to work with the complainant to minimise the risk of future instances of the alleged behaviour occurring in its workplace."
According to reports, the allegations were made 21 months ago, although it's not clear why they have only just come to light publicly now.
Rush has strenuously denied the claims via a statement from his lawyer, in which he said that he'd never been approached by the Sydney Theatre Company about the allegations.
“It is a great disappointment to Mr. Rush the STC has chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation in this way," the statement, obtained by Variety, read, noting that "inappropriate behaviour" could refer to "abuse, bullying or other forms of reprehensible activity" - all of which "Mr. Rush abhors".
"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."
A separate personal statement from Rush stated that the management of the Sydney Theatre Company "refused" to reveal details of the allegations even after he'd found out about the complaint.
"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. They refused to illuminate me with the details," he said. "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.”
Numerous big names in Hollywood, including producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback and actor Kevin Spacey, have been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct in the scandal currently sweeping Tinseltown.