Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has won his defamation case against an Australian newspaper publisher and journalist over reports he had been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards an actress.
The 67-year-old Australian had sued the publisher of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper and journalist Jonathon Moran over two stories and a poster published in late 2017.
Federal Court judge Michael Wigney ruled on Thursday that Rush had been defamed.
He awarded an initial payment of 850,000 Australian dollars (£460,000) in damages, but lawyers will return to court in May when the judge determines special additional damages and costs.
Outside court, Rush thanked his family for their support. “There are no winners in this case. It’s been extremely distressing for everyone involved,” he told reporters.
Mr Wigney was scathing of the newspaper’s reporting.
“This was, in all the circumstances, a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind,” he said. “It was difficult to avoid the conclusion that it was calculated to damage.”
The reports alleged inappropriate behaviour by Rush while he was starring in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.
Rush won the best actor Oscar in 1996 for his portrayal of pianist David Helfgott in Shine and is famed for his portrayal of Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.