Australia

Geoffrey Rush denies inappropriate behaviour claims

0:00

Geoffrey Rush has responded to allegations made in a US publication and on the ABC about his behaviour toward fellow actor Yael Stone.

Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush has denied acting inappropriately towards a fellow actor eight years ago in an Australian theatre production, saying he never intended to cause her distress.

Rush was responding to allegations made by Yael Stone, now 33, who stars in the acclaimed US television series Orange is the New Black.

The claims centre on the stage production The Diary of A Madman, when Stone played opposite Rush between 2010 and 2011 in Sydney and later Brooklyn, New York.

Geoffrey Rush and Yael Stone.
Geoffrey Rush and Yael Stone.
AAP, ABC

On Monday, Stone told ABC's 7:30, "I was sitting at the mirrors and he came in from the shower holding his towel and he was naked and he danced around in front of me".

She alleged another incident when he used a small mirror to spy on her in the shower on one occasion.

"I believe it was made in the spirit of a joke. The fact is it made me incredibly uncomfortable.

"I think I dealt with it by words to the effect of, 'bugger off, Geoffrey'. I was always treading that line of trying to protect myself, not quite knowing how. And never, ever wanting to offend him.

"That was at the top of the list. Don't offend Geoffrey, it will affect your career if you do."

To resist Rush, Stone said, "it was always a gentle admonishment. It was never definitive and never, 'no, stop, this is wrong' ... I can say that would have been very confusing for him. I would add that consent is very complicated".

Yael Stone plays the character Lorna Morello in the Netflix drama Orange Is The New Black.
Yael Stone plays the character Lorna Morello in the Netflix drama Orange Is The New Black.
Orange Is The New Black

He also sent text messages that "became increasingly sexual in nature... I didn't know how to stop the texts. Even to the point of not replying". 

Stone said when reaching out to others, "the advice I received was words to the effect of, 'Geoffrey's a very powerful person. Try and make this work'."

"I just couldn't wait for the show to be over because I did not know how to negotiate this enormous personality that had become a really defining part of my life."

In retrospect, the actress said, "I can certainly own the fact that I communicated in ways that I certainly wouldn't now. I was 25. He was 59. I would never have that kind of relationship now. I would never text back in the way that I did then. I wouldn't even use the terms that I did then. I'm not proud of that at all".

0:00
Australian actress Yael Stone on Geoffrey Rush.
Australian actress Yael Stone on Geoffrey Rush.

Calls for changes in the entertainment industry

Stone said, "I believe that I let myself down" and was dealing with "a great deal of regret".

"And while I have sympathy for my younger self and understand that I was in a difficult and compromising position of wanting to get ahead in my career and manage an amazing impressive personality, personal dignity is still important," she said.

"Drawing those boundaries is really important. If I could talk to my younger self I would say your work is enough. You're in that room because your work is good."

She said there needs to be "some systematic changes" in the entertainment industry to protect younger actors "from making those kinds of mistakes and wading into areas that leave people confused".

A 2014 file image of Geoffrey Rush.
Geoffrey Rush has rejected allegations made about his behaviour by fellow actor Yael Stone. (AAP)

Rush, in a statement to 7:30, said the allegations of inappropriate behaviour were "incorrect and in some instance have been taken completely out of context".

"However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work.

"I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress.

"This, most certainly, has never been my intention."

Rush said he abhorred any behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation.

Rush this year sued Sydney's The Daily Telegraph for defamation over allegations it made about his behaviour towards one of his co-stars in a separate production.

The case outcome is still pending.

- with AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch