Australian actor and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush vehemently "denies" allegations of "inappropriate behavior" made against him, a lawyer for the actor has said in a statement obtained by E! News on Wednesday.
In a statement issued by Rush's legal team, HWL Ebsworth, the actor says that he "denies having been involved in any 'inappropriate behavior' whatsoever."
In a now-deleted Daily Telegraph article, the publication alleged earlier in the day that reports of inappropriate behavior had been made against the actor when he starred in the Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) production of King Lear in 2015 and 2016.
A rep for the theater company gave a statement to E! News on the matter: "Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behavior. The Company received the complaint when Mr Rush's engagement with the Company had ended."
The company's statement continued, "The Company continues to work with the complainant to minimize the risk of future instances of the alleged behavior occurring in its workplace. The complainant has requested that their identity be withheld. STC respects that request and for privacy reasons, will not be making any further comments."
Subsequently, the 66-year-old issued a lengthy statement to E! News, denying the claims and adding that he was still unaware of the specific allegations made against him, despite his best efforts to ascertain details.
The document stated, "To date, Mr Rush or any of his representatives have not received any representations from the STC or the complainant. In other words, there has been no provision of any details, circumstances, allegations or events that can be meaningfully responded to."
The statement, which goes on at length to say that Rush is still in the dark on the claims, continues, "It must be made clear from the outset that Mr Rush abhors any form of maltreatment of any person in any form."
The statement also says, "It is a great disappointment to Mr Rush the STC has chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation in this way."
The statement continues, "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."
The document also includes a direct statement from the actor in which he expresses that he tried to find out more information from STC but did not receive it.
The actor states: "The moment I became aware of rumors of a complaint I immediately phoned and spoke to senior management at the Sydney Theatre Company asking for clarification about the details of the statement. They refused to illuminate me with the details."
The King's Speech actor says, "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."
The statement ends: "At this stage, Mr Rush can only reiterate his statement that he denies having been involved in any 'inappropriate behavior' whatsoever. Until there is the decency afforded to Mr Rush of what the 'inappropriate behavior' actually is then there is nothing more that can be said at this stage.
A spokesperson for the Sydney Theatre Company issued a statement overnight, saying it "was asked by a News Ltd. journalist earlier this month whether it had received a complaint alleging inappropriate behavior by Mr. Rush while he was employed by the company. STC responded truthfully that it had received such a complaint."
"At the time the complaint was made, the complainant requested that the matter be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Mr. Rush notified or involved in any investigation. STC complied, acting in the interest of the complainant's health and welfare. As already stated, the Company received the complaint after Mr Rush's engagement had ended," the spokesperson said. "STC has at all times been clear that this was an allegation made to (not by) STC and not a conclusion of impropriety."