Yael Stone alleges Geoffrey Rush acted inappropriately towards her
Orange is the New Black star Stone alleges string of incidents which Rush denies
Geoffrey Rush Photograph: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The New York Times published an interview on Sunday in which Stone alleged Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour when the two actors were co-stars in a 2010 theatre production of The Diary of a Madman. Stone alleges that during the production, Rush held a mirror above her while she showered, danced naked in front of her and touched her back in an “unwanted” and “very sensual manner”.
In a statement issued through his lawyers on Monday, Rush said Stone’s allegations were “incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context”. “However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work,” he said. “I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention.
“When we performed in The Diary of a Madman eight years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades. Over the years we have shared correspondence that always contained a mutual respect and admiration.
“As I have said in the past, I abhor any behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.”
Stone made a string of allegations that Rush behaved inappropriately during the play. According to the New York Times, the two actors shared a dressing room with adjoining showers during the production and, after one performance, Stone said, Rush held the mirror above her cubicle while she showered.
“I remember I looked up to see there was a small shaving mirror over the top of the partition between the showers and he was using it to look down at my naked body,” Stone said. “I believe that it was meant with a playful intention but the effect was that I felt there was nowhere for me to feel safe and unobserved.”
Stone said she believed she said words to the effect of “Bugger off, Geoffrey”. “I was walking a very delicate line where I needed to manage these uncomfortable moments but never, never offend him,” she said. “There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity. This was a huge star. “What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?”
The Australian actor – who plays Lorna Morello in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black – detailed a number of other “weird” incidents involving Rush during the production. According to the New York Times, Rush also danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, occasionally sent her erotic text messages and would engage in “strange intimacies in the dressing room” including asking her to remove his costume during the play’s intermission. Stone said she responded with “an attitude of, ‘Oh, you’re a very naughty boy’.” “I didn’t want him to think I was no fun, that I was one of those people who couldn’t take a joke,” she said.
Stone also said that during an awards show connected to the play Rush had touched her back “in a very sensual manner” that was “unwanted and sustained”. She told the New York Times that Rush had written to her and apologised the next day, calling it “uncalled – for but had to”.
Rush is currently embroiled in a high-profile defamation case against the Rupert Murdoch-owned Australian tabloid newspaper the Daily Telegraph over a series of articles published in November and December 2017. The articles alleged he had behaved inappropriately towards a castmate during a 2015 production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. One front-page story was headlined “King Leer” and featured a portrait of Rush in character. During the trial the actor at the centre of accusations against Rush, Eryn Jean Norvill, claimed the actor “deliberately” touched her breast in front of an audience during a 2015 stage production of King Lear, saying she felt “trapped” and “frightened” by the Oscar-winner’s behaviour.
Rush has vehemently denied the accusations. – Guardian