Geoffrey Rush steps down from Australian screen academy following allegation
The Sydney Theatre Company has not disclosed details of the complaint against the Oscar-winning actor.
Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has quit as president of Australia’s screen industry academy after a theatre company said it had received a complaint of “inappropriate behaviour”.
The star of screen and stage denied the accusation at the Sydney Theatre Company, with the allegation reportedly dating from his role in the staging of King Lear two years ago.
In a statement through his lawyer to the Associated Press, the 66-year-old said: “Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community.
“It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.
“In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved.
“This decision has not been made lightly. However, in the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned.”
The AACTA said it accepted Rush’s decision to step down.
“We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances,” it said.
The Sydney Theatre Company has not disclosed details of the allegation and said the complainant requested it was dealt with confidentially.
Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph cited two unnamed sources who said an actress had accused Rush of touching her inappropriately.
The allegation was reportedly made after Rush’s employment had ended.
Rush’s lawyers said his “regard, actions and treatment of all the people he has worked with has been impeccable beyond reproach”.