Geoffrey Rush Awarded Record $1.9 Million Payout After Winning #MeToo Defamation Case

PEOPLE.com | 5/23/2019 | Staff
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Geoffrey Rush was awarded over $1.9 million Thursday after winning his defamation case against an Australian newspaper that published allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The sum is the largest defamation payout to a single person in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, and comes in addition to the $600,000 Rush previously won in aggravated compensatory damages.

Oscar-winning - Actor - Case - Daily - Telegraph

The Oscar-winning actor, 67, won his case against The Daily Telegraph in April, a year and a half after the outlet published a pair of stories claiming he’d acted inappropriately toward a female costar while performing in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.

Justice Michael Wigney said Rush’s reputation was “destroyed” by the articles, which he called “a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the worst kind,” according to a judgment summary obtained by PEOPLE.

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Rush argued in April that he may have lost $3.5 million in earnings from the time the articles were published to when the trial began, according to CNN.

Herald - Reports - Damages - Loss - Category

The Herald reports that damages for economic loss are in a separate category and require proof.

Nationwide News is appealing Wigney’s decision, according to the Herald, and has requested he step down from the case.

Basis - Wigney

“I am not satisfied that there is any basis to recuse myself and I decline to do so,” Wigney reportedly responded.

The articles in question, one of which hit newsstands with the headline “King Leer,” were published in the Telegraph in 2017, and did not name Rush’s accuser, Eryn Jean Norvill.

Norvill - Court - April - Credibility - Wigney

Norvill appeared in court in April to testify, though her credibility was questioned by Wigney, who said she was “prone to exaggeration and embellishment,” according to the summary.

According to Variety, Norvill testified that Rush “deliberately” stroked her right breast and hip during a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: PEOPLE.com
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