CANBERRA: Geoffrey Rush said on Friday he is suing a Sydney newspaper for defamation over its reporting of an actress's complaint against the Oscar-winning actor of "inappropriate behavior."
The Daily Telegraph newspaper broke the story last week that the Sydney Theatre Company had confirmed receiving the complaint. The company has released no details of the complaint other than to say the allegation involved "inappropriate behavior" while Rush was an employee and was not raised until after he had left. Rush has denied any misconduct.
The Australian actor told a news conference at his lawyer's Melbourne office that he filed the lawsuit against the News Corp. newspaper in the Australian Federal Court. The filing was not immediately available.
"It is an action I am taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community," Rush read from a prepared statement. He said it had damaged his reputation and hurt his family and colleagues. He would not take questions.
The Daily Telegraph editor Chris Dore said in a statement that his newspaper had accurately reported that the theater had received the complaint.
"We will defend our position in court," Dore said.
Rush's lawyer Nicholas Pullen did not specify the damages that Rush was seeking.
"It is certainly the desire of Mr. Rush to have this matter heard as quickly as possible in order to vindicate his name," Pullen said.
Last weekend, Rush stepped down as president of the Australian screen academy over media reports that he described as containing "untenable allegations."
Media reports said the allegation dated from Rush's starring role in the theater's staging of "King Lear" two years ago.
Rush, 66, has performed at the Sydney theater 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.