SYDNEY (AP) — An actress who accused Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush of inappropriately touching her on a Sydney stage later swore at him when he followed her into a toilet at a party after a performance, Australian court documents allege.
Rush is suing Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper in Federal Court for defamation over articles last year that he argued portray him as a pervert and sexual predator. The articles allege inappropriate behavior and touching during the Sydney Theatre Company production of “King Lear” in 2015.
Accusations in defense documents previously suppressed by the court were made public on Tuesday.
Eryn Jean Norvill played Cordelia alongside the 66-year-old Australian actor, who played the title role and her father.
The documents allege Rush touched Norvill in a way that made her feel uncomfortable on five separate occasions during the final week of the production, in a scene where he carried her as she simulated a lifeless body.
Rush’s lawyer, Richard McHugh, told the court on Monday the accusations were vague.
But the newspaper will attempt to prove that Rush engaged in scandalously inappropriate behavior, and that his conduct was so serious that the theatre company would not work with him again.
The defense documents allege Norvill was visibly upset and told Rush to stop after the first instance of on-stage touching, which was not scripted, directed or necessary for the performance.
Rush is also accused of following the actress into the women’s toilet at a restaurant during the cast’s celebration after the final performance. Rush is accused of standing outside her toilet stall until she swore at him and told him to leave.
The newspaper denies Rush’s claims that its articles made him out to be a pervert and a sexual predator, and its lawyers previously told the court they made no allegations of a sexual nature.
Justice Michael Wigney on Monday delayed to a later date Rush’s request to have the newspaper’s truth defense struck out.
Rush has performed in the Sydney Theatre Company for 35 years. He won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for “Shine” and has three other Oscar nominations. He is perhaps best known as Captain Barbossa in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.