Geoffrey Rush accused of simulating ‘groping and fondling’ actor at centre of lawsuit
The Guardian: Geoffrey Rush simulated “groping and fondling” the actor at the centre of his defamation suit against the Sydney Daily Telegraph, the newspaper has alleged in court documents.
Last week the federal court heard the Telegraph and its reporter, Jonathon Moran, will attempt to prove a defence of truth when the case goes to trial in October after the actor, Eryn Jean Norvill, provided their lawyers with a statement.
Rush is suing the Telegraph’s publisher News Corp and Moran over articles about allegations he behaved inappropriately towards a female colleague – later revealed to be Norvill – during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.
Rush has strenuously denied the claims. The documents list a series of incidents in which the Telegraph’s lawyers argue Rush acted like a “pervert” and engaged in “sexually predatory behaviour”.
In one instance during the final weeks of production Rush and Norvill were rehearsing a scene in front of cast and crew members when Rush allegedly simulated “groping” Norvill while she lay on stage.
During the scene Norvill, who played Lear’s daughter Cordelia, lay prone on the stage with her eyes closed while Rush, who played Lear, grieved above her.
The documents state that while Rush would usually touch her “on the face and arm” during the scene “in the manner of a grieving father”, on this occasion Norvill opened her eyes when she heard people laughing and saw Rush “hovering his hands above her torso and pretending to stroke or caress her upper torso”.
The documents state Rush then “made groping gestures in the air with two cupped hands [which were] intended to simulate and in fact did simulate him groping and fondling [Norvill’s] breasts”.
The document states the conduct intended to “mock” Norvill while she was in a vulnerable position, and that he “engaged in conduct of a kind in which only a pervert would engage”.