Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush won the case against the #metoo Oscar defamation. He sued the Daily Telegraph newspaper over an article that claimed he inappropriately touched and sexually harassed a co-star during Sydney Theater Company production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.
Federal court judge Michael Wigney criticized two articles published about Rush in Daily Telegraph.
In 2017, Telegraph’s front page published one of the most defamation stories by the name of “King Leer.”
Telegraph article talked about Rush inappropriately touching his co-star’s breast and back and following her into a bathroom and sending her an inappropriate message. Rush denied everything the article reported.
“This was a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind,” Wigney said on Thursday in Sydney.
Rush asserted he faced the financial loss of more than $3.5 million in earnings between the time of publication of the article and the beginning of the trial. News Corp has to pay him more than $850,000(465,000) after Rush won the case. He is expected to get more money in a follow-up hearing on May 10 as his financial loss will affect him in the future too.
Australian entertainment royalty including Judy Davis, Robyn Nevin, and director Neil Armfield defended Rush.
The trial was three weeks long and the actress who complaint against Geoffrey Rush was Eryn Jean Norvill. She testified in court that sexual harassment had been incited by senior members of that production.
Wigney said he was “acutely conscious of and had regard to the difficulties and disadvantages that are often encountered by complainants in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment” and that Norvill had “essentially been dragged into the spotlight” by Moran who wrote the article and the Daily Telegraph.
Norvill closed her eyes when the judge called her as “prone to exaggeration and embellishment”.
“I was not ultimately persuaded that Ms. Norvill was an entirely credible witness”, Wigney said.
After the hearing, Rush thanked his wife and children “for their support during the harrowing time.”
Rush is a winner of Academy Award for best actor in 1997 for the film Shine where he played David Helfgott. He was named Australian of the year in 2012. He starred in the film “Pirates of Caribbean” and “Les Miserables.”