Geoffrey Rush denies inappropriate behaviour during stage production

Ben Arnold
Contributor

Geoffrey Rush has denied an allegation of inappropriate behaviour during a production of King Lear at the Sydney Theatre Company.

In a statement, the Oscar-winning Australian actor’s lawyers said that details of the allegation have not been given to them.

“In this current environment, ‘inappropriate behaviour’ may mean abuse, bullying or other forms of reprehensible activity,” the statement read.

“These are matters that deserve forthright and objective levels of discussion. It must be made clear from the outset that Mr Rush abhors any form of maltreatment of any person in any form.”

The claims first appeared in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which reported that the theatre company had been told of an allegation against Rush of inappropriate behaviour from a complainant who requested that their identity be withheld.

A spokesperson for the theatre said: “Sydney Theatre Company was asked by a News Ltd journalist earlier this month whether it had received a complaint alleging inappropriate behaviour 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.”

Rush, 66, has said in a statement that he immediately called the STC when he became aware of the ‘rumours’, but 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,” he said.

“However, no response was forthcoming.”

Rush played Lear in the production between November 2015, and January 2016.

Rush’s lawyers added: “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.”

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