Geoffrey Rush accusation: Two actors back woman making claim
TWO actors who work with the Sydney Theatre Company yesterday publicly threw their support behind the actor who has accused Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush of touching her inappropriately during the stage production of King Lear.
It comes as Rush - one of the country's most successful actors - was yesterday continuing to vehemently deny claims he inappropriately touched a cast member of the local production of the classic William Shakespeare play.
Rising young actor Meyne Raoul Wyatt, who appeared in King Lear, said he believed his castmate's version of events.
"I was in the show," Wyatt, who has also starred in Neighbours and Redfern Now, wrote on Facebook yesterday after The Daily Telegraph broke the story.
"I believe (the person who) has come forward. It's time for Sydney Theatre Company and the industry in Australia and worldwide as a whole to make a stand on this behaviour!!!!"
And Brandon McClelland, who has worked alongside the woman at the centre of the alleged complaint and is in the company's current production of Three Sisters, urged others on Twitter to believe the actress.
"It wasn't a misunderstanding. It wasn't a joke," he posted.
McClelland's tweet was also reposted by several other Sydney theatre actors as the story dominated social media yesterday.
Rush was made aware who made the claims three weeks ago.
The STC production of King Lear ran from November 2015 to January 2016.
The 66-year-old acting legend yesterday said he "immediately phoned and spoke to senior management" at the STC when he became aware of rumours there was a complaint.
But he said the STC refused to give him details.
"They refused to illuminate me," he said through a statement.
"I also asked why this information was being withheld, and why, according to standard theatre practice, the issue had not been raised with me during the production via stage management, the director, my fellow actors or anyone at management level.
"However, no response was forthcoming."
Rush's lawyer Nicholas Pullen said it was a "great disappointment" that the STC had "chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation".
"Not to afford a person their right to know what has been alleged against them, let alone not inform them of it but release such information to the public, is both a denial of natural justice and is not how our society operates," he said.
The actor's lawyer, a partner in legal firm HWL Ebsworth, said Rush "abhorred any form of maltreatment of any person".
"Until there is the decency afforded to Mr Rush of what the 'inappropriate behaviour' actually is then there is nothing more that can be said at this stage," Mr Pullen said.
Two sources who spoke to The Daily Telegraph yesterday said Rush was made aware who made the claims in a conversation with executive director Patrick McIntyre three weeks ago.
The sources said they believed the woman's claims.
And they said the STC would not be working with Rush again. That's despite the veteran actor having worked with the company both acting and directing productions such as Uncle Vanya, Oleanna, The Importance Of Being Ernest and The Government Inspector.
A new statement from the STC yesterday said that it had responded "truthfully" after being approached by The Daily Telegraph earlier this week.
It also clarified the anonymous nature of the alleged complainant, who had "requested the matter be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Mr Rush notified".
"STC complied, acting in the interest of the complainant's health and welfare."
Mr McIntyre last night said the STC had "reviewed policies and procedures" including "educating actors when they come in to the company about our intolerance of inappropriate behaviour, who they should speak to and encouraging them to speak up".