Yael Stone Is Recognized as ‘Witness X’ in Geoffrey Rush Defamation Case


SYDNEY, Australia — A thriller witness who attorneys had hoped would offer proof of an alleged sample of inappropriate habits by the actor Geoffrey Rush in his defamation battle in opposition to Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide Information has been formally recognized because the Australian actress Yael Stone.

The Federal Courtroom of Australia on Friday lifted an order suppressing the id of “witness X,” as she was initially known as, revealing her to be Ms. Stone, who’s greatest identified for her work within the Netflix collection “Orange Is the New Black.”

In an interview revealed in December, Ms. Stone, 34, informed The New York Instances that Mr. Rush danced bare in entrance of her when each have been starring in a 2010-11 Sydney manufacturing of “The Diary of a Madman.” She additionally alleged that he used a mirror to observe her whereas she was within the bathe and despatched her sexually suggestive textual content messages. On the time of the alleged incidents, she was 25 years outdated and Mr. Rush was 59.

[Read Yael Stone’s interview with The New York Times about Geoffrey Rush.]

The identification of Ms. Stone inserts a possible new component into the authorized battle over Mr. Rush’s status, only a month after he received his defamation swimsuit in opposition to Nationwide Information, which publishes the Sydney tabloid newspaper The Day by day Telegraph.

Mr. Rush was awarded 850,000 Australian dollars, or practically $600,000, in preliminary damages. Damages for his financial losses are nonetheless to be decided, however may run into the thousands and thousands of dollars.

Mr. Rush, 67, argued in the course of the trial that two front-page articles revealed in The Day by day Telegraph in late 2017 wrongly portrayed him as a “sexual predator” and a “pervert.”

The articles instructed that the Oscar-winning actor behaved inappropriately towards an unnamed feminine co-star, later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill, throughout a 2015-16 Sydney Theater Firm manufacturing of “King Lear.” One article was accompanied by of Mr. Rush in character with the headline “King Leer.”

PictureThe actress Yael Stone in New York final yr.Credit scoreCeleste Sloman for The New York Instances

Halfway by means of the two-week trial late final yr, Nationwide Information known as on Ms. Stone (then identified publicly solely as witness X) to supply proof in its protection. Nevertheless, Justice Michael Wigney rejected the last-minute bid and ordered Ms. Stone’s id suppressed.

Nationwide Information is now interesting the defamation verdict. A key component of the attraction is that the choose refused the writer’s utility to amend its protection to incorporate proof from Ms. Stone.

Nationwide Information has additionally requested that Justice Wigney recuse himself from listening to the applying.

“One of many points that the attraction courtroom might want to determine is whether or not or not the choose made the suitable determination when deciding to exclude that proof,” stated Sophie Dawson, a Sydney-based companion on the legislation agency Hen & Hen and an professional in media and defamation legislation.

“The truth that Yael Stone has been revealed as witness X doesn’t actually change quite a bit for the case at this stage — it’s seemingly that the courtroom knew her id,” Ms. Dawson stated. “The lifting of the suppression order has simply made it accessible to the general public.”

Attorneys for each Mr. Rush and Ms. Stone refused to remark.

The courtroom has continued to suppress the precise nature of Ms. Stone’s allegations in opposition to Mr. Rush.

In her December 2018 interview with The Instances, Ms. Stone recalled, specifically, an incident with Mr. Rush within the shared dressing room showers.

“I keep in mind I regarded as much as see there was a small shaving mirror excessive of the partition between the showers and he was utilizing it to look down at my bare physique,” she stated within the interview. “I imagine that it was meant with a playful intention, however the impact was that I felt there was nowhere for me to really feel protected and unobserved.”

She added of her determination to come back ahead: “I really feel a duty to talk.”

In a press release, Mr. Rush stated that Ms. Stone’s allegations “are incorrect and in some situations have been taken fully out of context.”

“Clearly Yael has been upset occasionally by the spirited enthusiasm I usually convey to my work,” he stated. “I sincerely and deeply remorse if I’ve precipitated her any misery.”

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