Geoffrey Rush has accused the Daily Telegraph of destroying his career after it published allegations linking him to the likes of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Rush is suing the Sydney tabloid and its journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation following articles alleging the 66-year-old behaved inappropriately to a colleague during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.
“(Rush’s) reputation as an actor has been irreparably harmed such that he is likely to be shunned by employers in the future,” the defamation suit lodged in the Federal Court of Australia on Friday read.
The Daily Telegraph says it will defend its reporting.
Rush told journalists he was seeking “vindication of my good name”.
“It is an action I am taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community,” Rush said at his lawyer’s office in Melbourne.
“The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims – splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages.
“This has created irreparable damage to my reputation, has been extremely hurtful to my wife, my daughter and my son, and to my extended family, as well as to many colleagues in the film, television and theatre industry.”
Telegraph editor Chris Dore was quick to respond to news of the legal action.
“The Daily Telegraph accurately reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour,” he said in a statement.
“We will defend our position in court.”
Rush’s lawyer Nicholas Pullen said police had not been in contact with his client over the allegations.
Court documents allege the coverage unfairly associated Rush with disgraced US producer Weinstein and former TV gardening host Don Burke.
Weinstein denies allegations of non-consensual sex while Burke rejects claims of sexual harassment and indecent assault made by former employees of his Burke’s Backyard TV show.
Rush stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts on Saturday after the Telegraph published the allegations.
The Australian actor is a stalwart of Australian theatre, won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for Shine, and has three other Oscar nominations.
No date had been set for the matter to be mentioned in the Federal Court.