Geoffrey Rush Wins Defamation Case Against Sydney Newspaper Publisher, Journalist

Written by on April 11, 2019

Fourth Estate Staff

Sydney, Australia (4E) – Geoffrey Rush won the defamation case he filed against a Sydney-based newspaper publisher and their journalist who wrote articles accusing him of “engaging in inappropriate behavior” toward one of his co-stars in a theatre production of ‘King Lear’.

The award-winning actor sued The Daily Telegraph’s publisher, News Corp’s Nationwide News, and its writer Jonathan Moran for publishing two stories and a poster in late 2017 in which he claims he was portrayed as a sexual predator and a pervert, Time reported.

The reports alleged that Rush acted inappropriately towards his colleague, actress Eryn Jean Norvill, while they were working for Sydney Theater Company’s production of ‘King Lear’ in 2015 and 2016. Although Norvill was not interviewed by the newspaper prior to the articles’ release, she agreed to testify for the defendant. In her testimony, the actress said that Rush stroked the side of her right breast while she playing dead during a preview performance. The actor denied the said allegation.

Australian Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney ruled that the 67-year-old actor had been defamed by the articles, which he described as a “recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind.”

Wigney did not find Norvill’s testimony “credible and reliable”, and that it was uncorroborated and contradicted by evidence presented by Rush.

He also said in court that the actor’s earnings as an actor would suffer severely as a result of the “vindication of his reputation” through the defamatory article.

According to The Guardian, Rush was awarded more than $850,000 in compensation for aggravated damages. The judge also reserved further assessment of additional compensation for special damages. Said assessment will be based on whether Rush will not likely receive any “real” offers or projects within 12 months following the “vindication of his reputation”.

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