Rush might ‘never work again,’ lawyer says

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - Pho­tos and text from wire ser­vices

Aus­tralian ac­tor Ge­of­frey Rush, who is claim­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in defama­tion dam­ages over a news­pa­per re­port he be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward a fe­male co-star, might never work again, his lawyer told a court Fri­day.

Wrap­ping up Rush’s case against Syd­ney’s Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per and jour­nal­ist Jonathan Mo­ran, lawyer Bruce McClin­tock said “there is a sig­nif­i­cant risk that Mr. Rush will not work again.”

In sub­mis­sions for dam­ages at the end of the 3-week hear­ing in Syd­ney’s Fed­eral Court, McClin­tock said the Os­car-win­ning ac­tor’s phone may not ring with job of­fers and he may never be able to re­gain his con­fi­dence and de­sire to work.

The high-pro­file non-jury trial ended on Fri­day, when Judge Michael Wigney said he would “love to start writ­ing his judg­ment to­mor­row” but that his work­load would prevent him from de­liv­er­ing the de­ci­sion this year.

Rush sued the Daily Tele­graph’s pub­lisher, Na­tion­wide News, and Mo­ran over two ar­ti­cles and a news­pa­per poster pub­lished in 2017.

They re­lated to a re­port he be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward a co-star, later re­vealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill, dur­ing a Syd­ney The­atre Com­pany pro­duc­tion of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.

Rush de­nied the al­le­ga­tion and said the news­pa­per por­trayed him as a per­vert and sex­ual preda­tor.

The news­pa­per ar­gued that the ar­ti­cles were sub­stan­tially true af­ter Norvill — who didn’t par­tic­i­pate in them — agreed to give ev­i­dence.

She tes­ti­fied Rush made grop­ing ges­tures and sex­ual in­nu­en­does to­ward 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 past and fu­ture eco­nomic losses, 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,” he said.

Lawyer Tom Black­burn for the news­pa­per and Mo­ran said Rush did not give any ev­i­dence of be­ing in­ca­pable of work­ing, or of not re­ceiv­ing any of­fers.

Rush won the best ac­tor Os­car in 1996 for his por­trayal of pi­anist David Helf­gott in “Shine” and was nom­i­nated for roles in “Shake­speare in Love,” “Quills” and “The King’s Speech.” He is also famed for his por­trayal of Cap­tain Bar­bossa in the “Pi­rates of the Caribbean” films.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ge­of­frey Rush poses with his ‘Ber­li­nale Cam­era Award’ wich he re­ceived prior to the screen­ing of the film ‘Fi­nal Por­trait’ at the 2017 Ber­li­nale Film Fes­ti­val in Ber­lin.

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