Geoffrey Rush Awarded $2 Million in Defamation Case, a Report for Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush will likely be awarded 2.9 million Australian in his defamation case in opposition to Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide Information, a courtroom mentioned on Thursday, the biggest such payout to a single particular person in Australia’s historical past.

Mr. Rush was awarded 850,000 , or about $600,000, in preliminary damages in April after successful his defamation case, by which he accused a tabloid newspaper of wrongly portraying him as having behaved inappropriately towards a feminine co-star.

The award introduced on Thursday, practically $2 million, included 1.98 million for previous and future financial losses and 42,000 in curiosity.

“Geoffrey Rush clearly has gained the battle — he’s a spectacular winner within the context of litigation,” mentioned Matt Collins, an Australian lawyer who’s an skilled in defamation regulation. “However you’ll question whether or not he has in the end gained the battle. You’ll question whether or not any sum of cash could be enough to revive his status.”

Mr. Rush’s lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou, declined to remark.

The actor’s defamation case concerned two front-page articles revealed in late 2017 by The Every day Telegraph, a Syndey newspaper.

The articles alleged unseemly conduct by Mr. Rush towards an unidentified feminine actress in a Sydney Theater Firm manufacturing of “King Lear” from 2016 to 2017. One of many articles was accompanied by a photograph of Mr. Rush in costume beneath the headline “King Leer.” The actress was later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill.

In a much-publicized trial, Mr. Rush, a star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” collection and different movies, argued that the articles incorrectly depicted him as a “pervert” and a “sexual predator.”

Mr. Rush’s lawyer mentioned in courtroom on Thursday that the actor had supplied earlier to settle the case, asking Nationwide Information to pay him 50,000 in addition to cowl his authorized prices and difficulty an apology. Nationwide Information declined.

The April verdict was seen as a blow for the #MeToo motion in Australia; advocates say the nation’s strict defamation legal guidelines have stored it from gaining steam. The case was carefully watched partly as a result of it was a check of whether or not a celeb of Mr. Rush’s stature may fend off #MeToo accusations by a defamation declare.

The report damages awarded on Thursday comply with a spate of high-profile defamation instances in Australia.

In 2017, Bauer Media was ordered to pay the Australian actress Insurgent Wilson four.7 million , over a collection of journal articles in 2015 that painted her as a serial liar. That quantity was decreased to 600,000 by an appeals courtroom, which discovered a scarcity of proof that she had suffered an financial lack of the magnitude of the unique award.

Additionally in 2017, the police have been ordered to pay 2.6 million in damages to a Perth-based lawyer, Lloyd Rayney, after he claimed he had been defamed for being referred to as the “prime” suspect in his spouse’s homicide.

“We had a flight of very high-profile defamation instances in Australia over the previous couple of years, and the pattern has been in the direction of growing damages awarded,” mentioned Mr. Collins, the defamation regulation skilled.

In Mr. Rush’s case, the quantity of the financial losses was agreed to between the events, fairly than imposed by the courtroom. Mr. Rush initially requested for greater than 20 million in damages.

Nationwide Information is interesting the defamation verdict. If Mr. Rush loses the attraction, Nationwide Information won’t must pay any damages.

A cornerstone of the attraction is the proof of “Witness X,” recognized this month because the Australian actress Yael Stone, 34, who’s greatest identified for her position within the Netflix present “Orange is the New Black.”

Halfway by the trial final 12 months, Nationwide Information referred to as on “Witness X” to supply proof. Justice Michael Wigney, who presided over the case, rejected the bid and ordered Ms. Stone’s identification suppressed.

In an interview revealed in December, Ms. Stone instructed The New York Occasions that Mr. Rush had behaved inappropriately towards her throughout a 2010-11 Sydney manufacturing of “The Diary of a Madman.”

She mentioned that Mr. Rush had danced bare in entrance of her, despatched her erotic textual content messages and used a mirror to observe her bathe.

The actor mentioned in a press release on the time that Ms. Stone’s allegations have been “incorrect and in some cases have been taken fully out of context.”

Ms. Norvill, for her half, testified final 12 months that Mr. Rush had sexually harassed her, saying he had made “groping” and “cupping” gestures towards her breasts.

She mentioned he additionally “intentionally” stroked her breast in entrance of a theater viewers and traced her decrease again alongside the waistline of her denims together with his fingertips.

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