RUSH ‘MAY NEVER WORK AGAIN’
Actor Geoffrey Rush is seeking millions of dollars in damages for defamation over the publication of allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the theatre, a court has heard.
Lawyers for Rush told the Federal Court yesterday that the actor had been unable to work since the allegations were published in the Daily Telegraph late last year. And, they said, he might never work again.
The actor’s phone might not ring with job offers and he might never be able to regain his confidence and desire to work again, lawyer Bruce McClintock said.
But the newspaper’s barrister, Tom Blackburn, said Rush had failed to provide any proof that offers of work had dried up or that he was unable to work.
Rush, 67, is suing the newspaper over a series of articles that reported a young actor had lodged a complaint with the Sydney Theatre Company over his alleged “inappropriate behaviour”. The actor was later named as Eryn Jean Norvill, 34.
Rush denies any wrongdoing.
The newspaper argues the reports draw on allegations made by Norvill and are true.
Norvill testified Rush made groping gestures and sexual innuendo towards her in rehearsals, stroked her lower back backstage and deliberately touched her breast as he grieved over her character’s dead body during a performance.
Referring to Rush’s past and future economic loss, Mr McClintock said: “What they did to my client has disabled him from working. It does not take much of a taint to destroy a career.”
Mr Blackburn said “millions of dollars” were being claimed by Rush but he did not give or call evidence about being incapable of working or about not receiving any offers.
“We don’t know if he received any (film) offers and if he turned them down,” he said.
If Rush says he is entitled to substantial damages, the actor at the very least had to tell the judge something like “I am so damaged, I can’t work”, but this did not happen, Mr Blackburn said.
The case ended yesterday. Justice Michael Wigney said he would “love to start writing his judgment tomorrow” but his workload precluded him delivering a decision this year.
The decision was reserved to a date to be determined “early next year”.
Geoffrey Rush and his wife Jane Menelaus yesterday.