Geoffrey Rush defamation suit: What the court documents reveal about the actor’s claims
The 66-year-old actor has launched defamation proceedings against the tabloid, with a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court today.
The documents also allege that Rush was forced out of his role as the AACTA president, rather than voluntarily stepping aside, as he told the media on the weekend.
Who is he suing?
The 2012 Australian of Year is suing the owner of The Daily Telegraph, Nationwide News Pty Limited, and the journalist who penned the articles, Jonathon Moran.
Moran is a reporter for the Confidential section of the newspaper which reports on entertainment news and celebrity gossip.
His reporting was on the front page of the print publication and widely distributed online when the stories were published.
What is he suing for?
The statement of claim lodged by Rush’s lawyers takes aim at a series of articles, headlines and social media.
The first complaint is about the newspaper’s billboard on November 30, a poster usually seen on the outside of newsagents, which said: “WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Geoffrey Rush in scandal claims, theatre company confirms ‘inappropriate behaviour’.”
The court documents allege the implication was that Rush had “engaged in scandalously inappropriate behaviour” and “inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature” in the theatre.
The next issue was about the article published that same day which was run with the front page headline: “KING LEER: World Exclusive Oscar-winner Rush denies ‘inappropriate behaviour’ during Sydney stage show.”
The lawyers claim the article, billboard and headlines had defamatory meaning and made Rush out to be a “pervert” a “sexual predator” and had engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” against another person in the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015 production of King Lear.
The second article which Rush’s lawyers raised as a problem was published on December 1 with the headline “WE’RE WITH YOU: Theatre cast back accuser as Rush denies ‘touching'”.