Geoffrey Rush suffering anxiety after newspaper stories alleging innapropriate behaviour, court told

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Australian Actor Geoffrey Rush is virtually housebound, barely eats and wakes each morning with a "terrible sense of dread" since the publication of articles alleging inappropriate behaviour towards a colleague, according to a court document.

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017 file photo, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush poses with his 'Berlinale Camera Award' wich he received prior to the screening of the film 'Final Portrait' at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. The Sydney Theatre Company says it received a complaint of “inappropriate behavior” against Rush, an allegation lawyers for the Oscar winner denied. The company wasn’t disclosing details of the behavior alleged to have occurred while the 66-year-old Australian actor was an employee. Media reports say the allegation dated from the theater’s production of “King Lear,” about two years ago. His lawyers deny Rush was involved in inappropriate behavior. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Geoffrey Rush.

Source: Associated Press

An affidavit tendered in the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday says the Oscar winner has suffered "tremendous emotional and social hardship" since the publication of articles by The Daily Telegraph in 2017.

Rush, 66, has lost his appetite, struggles to sleep and has rarely left his home, according to the affidavit by his solicitor Nicholas Pullen.

Rush is suing The Daily Telegraph's publisher Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation over the articles alleging the Oscar winner behaved inappropriately towards a female co-star during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.

He has denied the allegations.

The affidavit tendered yesterday says that when Rush does venture out in public he feels anxious as he believes people are staring at him in a challenging, frightening and unnerving way.

He wakes every morning with a "terrible sense of dread about his future career", and feels his worth to the theatre and film industry is irreparably damaged, the document says.

The Telegraph has denied the articles made Rush out to be a pervert and a predator, and submits no allegations of a sexual nature were made.

The Federal Court yesterday heard the Telegraph and Moran have applied to bring a cross-claim against the STC that would see it become another defendant in Rush's lawsuit.

The application says the theatre company provided statements relating to a complaint alleging inappropriate behaviour by Rush knowing they would, or would likely, be re-published by the Telegraph.

The first story was read to a staffer in the STC's publicity department before publication and she did not indicate that anything in the article was inaccurate, the application says.

But Rush's lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou, said the decision to bring the "spurious" application appeared to be a tactical decision that would further delay proceedings.

"The respondents are treating this litigation like a game," she said.

Ms Chrysanthou said there was no suggestion the STC instigated the Telegraph's stories, with the theatre company providing a comment after a request from a journalist.

She said the respondents had given no explanation as to why they were now naming a previously confidential source from the STC in court documents.

She suggested they had changed their stance on the source's confidentiality so they could use the source's position to sue his employer.

But the newspaper's lawyer, Alec Leopold SC, said Ms Chrystanthou was making serious allegations of professional misconduct against instructing solicitors without a proper basis.

He said the defence wasn't trying to delay the proceedings.

The cross-claim application is scheduled to be heard on Friday.

Justice Michael Wigney, during yesterday's case management hearing, said it was likely the trial would be heard in December.

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