Geoffrey Rush, the Oscar-winning actor, won a defamation lawsuit on Thursday against a Sydney, Australia, newspaper that reported he had been accused of inappropriate behavior toward a female castmate. Rush’s lawyer argued that the actor might never work again because of the newspaper’s reports. Rush sued The Daily Telegraph and journalist Jonathon Moran over two stories and a poster published in late 2017. The stories alleged inappropriate behavior toward co-star Eryn Jean Norvill while Rush was starring in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of “King Lear.” Norvill did not speak to the newspaper before the articles were published, but testified that Rush stroked her breast and hip while she was playing dead on stage.
A judge awarded an initial $610,000 in damages to Rush, and said he did not find Norvill’s evidence “credible or reliable.” Outside court, Rush thanked his family for their support “during this harrowing time.” “There are no winners in this case,” he told reporters. “It’s been extremely distressing for everyone involved.”