Geoffrey Rush defamation trial against Murdoch media begins in Sydney
27 November 2018
Internationally acclaimed Australian actor Geoffrey Rush appeared on the witness stand this week during the first two days of a projected 13-day defamation trial in Sydney’s federal court. Accused of “inappropriate behaviour” and “sexual perversion,” Rush is suing the Murdoch-owned Nationwide News, publisher of the Daily Telegraph, and its celebrity entertainment editor, Jonathon Moran, after the newspaper splashed unsubstantiated claims, over its front pages, that he had carried out “inappropriate behaviour” toward a co-actor during a Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of King Lear in 2015-2016.
The “Triple Crown” winner—Rush has won the three most coveted acting prizes: an Oscar Award (Shine), a Primetime Emmy Award (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) and a Tony Award (Exit the King), one of the first Australian plays to win it—was followed later in the week on the witness stand by his wife, actress Jane Menelaus, and several leading figures in theatre, film and television, some of whom had travelled from overseas or interstate to serve as witnesses. They gave compelling evidence of Rush’s qualities as an actor, a colleague, a collaborator and a mentor. They also spoke of the devastating toll that the Telegraph’s allegations had taken on Rush’s health and well-being, and his ability to perform.
Questioned on Monday by his lawyer, Bruce McClintock SC, Rush reviewed his professional career, which had begun in 1971, when he worked with actress Robyn Nevin in gathering together a number of Queensland artists and technicians to open the new Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), with a production of the Marriage of Figaro….