Geoffrey Rush is seeking more than $20 million for his defamation case against The Daily Telegraph, as his lawyers cite the actor’s inability to ever work again.
Rush’s barristers, Bruce McClintock SC and Sue Chrysanthou, are claiming the actor could suffer a loss of $20.3 million as he no longer has the motivation to continue acting following accusations of sexual harassment towards a colleague.
According to McClintock and Chrysanthou, the claims made by a female co-star during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear have irrevocably impacted Rush’s career.
In a document uploaded to the Federal Court’s website in November, Rush’s barristers claimed: “At the moment [he] does not have the ‘spirit’ or the confidence to work — there is no suggestion that will change (or change any time soon).”
As per the document, Rush’s barristers claimed the actor’s future acting work could be reduced by 25 per cent to 75 per cent over the next 10 years.
If he were to suffer a 25 per cent reduction, Rush would lose roughly $4.8 million, however if it reached 75 per cent, he would lose $20.3 million.
Rush’s barristers said: “There will be many people, particularly in the context of the #metoo movement, who will not accept the court’s findings irrespective of what they are.
“In circumstances where millions of dollars are invested in films, it is unlikely that, given the allegations, film studios will take the risk.”
Rush originally began his case against The Daily Tele in December of 2017.
In late November of 2017, The Tele published a cover page story under the headline “King Leer” that Rush had acted inappropriately during the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of King Lear which ran from November 2015 to January 2016.
It’s believed that the Sydney Theatre Company had received a complaint from an unnamed person who worked on the production relating to inappropriate touching.
Rush’s lawyers claim the article, billboard and headlines had defamatory meaning and made Rush out to be a “pervert” a “sexual predator” who had engaged in “inappropriate behaviour”.
Announcing his intention to sue last Friday, Rush described the allegations as “slurs” and “hyperbole”.
Rush added: “The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombasity on its front pages.
“This has created irreparable damage to my reputation [and] been extremely hurtful to my wife, my daughter and my son. The situation is intolerable and I must now seek vindication of my good name through the courts.”