Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush wiped away tears in a Sydney Court on Tuesday as he defended himself in a defamation action he has taken against a Local Newspaper.
Rush was alleged in December stories in the Rupert Murdoch owned Daily Telegraph to have behaved inappropriately toward a young female co-star in 2015 and 2016 during a performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
The 67-year-old Oscar winner has denied the accusation and argued the newspaper made him out to be a pervert and sexual predator.
During the performance, Rush as King Lear has to carry his dead daughter Cordelia across the stage.
The actress who played Cordelia, Eryn Jean Norvill, was reported by the paper to have complained that during the scene Rush’s hand traced down her torso and across the side of her breast.
The paper also claimed Rush had “made groping gestures in the air with two cupped hands (which were) intended to simulate and in fact did simulate him groping and fondling (Norvill’s) breasts’’.
Rush denied the accusation, tears welling as he told the court that to prepare for that scene he imagined he was carrying his own dead daughter of the same age.
Rush is accused of touching Norvill’s lower back under her shirt while they were backstage, simulating fondling and groping her breasts and making comments or jokes about her involving sexual innuendo.
Rush denied each of the allegations when they were put to him on Tuesday.
He said nobody told him Norvill was uncomfortable or had made complaints.
The newspaper is pleading a defence of truth in the trial and Norvill who didn’t speak with the newspaper for the articles has agreed to give evidence.
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