In a decision issued Thursday, Geoffrey Rush prevailed in the defamation lawsuit against Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph that he filed in 2017.
In a strongly worded judgment published by The Guardian, Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney said that the Telegraph had published a “recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind.” Wigney also said “there are a number of aspects to the evidence which raise significant issues” about the credibility of Rush’s accuser, who Wigney called “prone to exaggeration and embellishment.”
Rush has been awarded a minimum of $850,000 AUD — approximately $610,000 USD — in initial damages, with further damages to be determined at a later date, according to ABC Australia.
Rush told reporters outside the courthouse that there were “no winners in this case. It was extremely distressing for everyone involved,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Representatives for Rush did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. The Telegraph also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rush filed the lawsuit in December 2017 after the Daily Telegraph published a statement from the Sydney Theatre Company, which said it had “received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour” during a 2015-2016 production of “King Lear.” The actor said the article contained “false, pejorative and demeaning claims.” He is seeking damages of up to $20 million.
In December, ‘Orange Is the New Black’ star Yael Stone accused Rush of sexual misconduct committed during a production of “The Diary of a Madman” eight years ago. Rush strongly denied the accusation in a statement provided to the New York Times, but said, “I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress.”