BREAKING NEWS: Geoffrey Rush will be paid $2.9MILLION in the largest defamation payout in Australia‘s history – after actor offered to settle with newspaper for $50,000 and an apology
Geoffrey Rush has been awarded a $2.9million defamation payout – the biggest in Australian history.
The Daily Telegraph will pay almost $2million for lost earnings, on top of the $850,000 for a series of reports falsely accusing him of ‘inappropriate behaviour‘ towards a female actor.
Lawyers for Mr Rush and the publisher of us – Nationwide News, had agreed the actor should receive $1.98 million in damages for past and future economic loss resulting from the reports, the Federal Court heard on Thursday.
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However, despite Nationwide News agreeing to pay the sum, the organisation is appealing the finding of defamation by Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney, reported.
Mr Rush had previously offered to settle the case for $50,000 and an apology, Mr Rush‘s barrister Sue Chrystanthou told the court.
And while Mr Rush now boasts the biggest defamation payout in Australian history, the sum is far less than his legal team had originally suggested, which was about $20 million for 10 years of lost earnings.
The 67-year-old, who played Captain Barbossa in Pirates Of The Caribbean, sued the Daily Telegraph‘s publisher Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran over two stories and a poster published in late 2017.
The articles related to an allegation that Mr Rush behaved inappropriately towards a co-star – later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill – during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015-16.
Ms Norvill, who played King Lear‘s daughter Cordelia, claimed he had stroked her breast on stage and stroked her lower back backstage.
Rush, who played King Lear, strongly denied the allegations.
In Sydney‘s Federal Court last month, Justice Michael Wigney found Mr Rush had been defamed.
‘Nationwide News and Mr Moran did not make out their truth defence,‘ the judge said.
The judge said the articles damaged Rush‘s career and prevented him from securing work.
The judge described the Daily Telegraph‘s journalism as ‘recklessly irresponsible.‘
‘This was, in all the circumstances, a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the worst kind – the very worst kind,‘ he said.
‘Those articles were published in an extravagant, excessive and sensationalist manner.‘
Rush denied the allegations against him and said Nationwide News and Moran made him out to be a pervert and sexual predator.
Nationwide News denied conveying those imputations but said if it did, they are substantially true.
Ms Chrystanthou has pushed for an injunction.
us ‘s barrister, Tom Blackburn SC, argued that an injunction would have a ‘chilling effect‘ on future criticism, ABC reported.
‘The injunction sought is a blunt instrument because a legitimate comment which might convey any one of these meanings is criminalised.‘
Justice Wigney has reserved his decision on the injunction. A temporary injunction remains in place.
A Shakespearean actor and Hollywood star: Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Roy Rush is an Australian actor among 24 people who have won the Triple Crown of Acting: an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Tony Award.
He has won one Academy Award for acting (of four nominations), three British Academy Film Awards (of five nominations), two Golden Globe Awards, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Rush was born in Toowoomba, Queensland. His father was of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry, and his mother was of German descent.
His parents divorced when he was five, and his mother subsequently took him to live with her parents in suburban Brisbane.
Before he began his acting career, Rush attended Brisbane State High School, and graduated from the University of Queensland with a bachelor‘s degree in Arts.
Rush made his film debut in the Australian film Hoodwink in 1981.
He starred in several Shakespeare plays on stage. His most famous films include The Kings Speech and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in which he played Captain Barbossa.