Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush has resigned as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The move follows…
Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush has resigned as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The move follows allegations earlier in the week of inappropriate behavior.
One of the world’s best-known performers, Rush has credits that include “The King’s Speech,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
The allegations first emerged on Wednesday when the Sydney Theatre Company revealed that it had received a complaint about Rush after he appeared in its presentation of “King Lear” two years ago. Neither the STC or Rush have provided any detail of the allegations.
Rush has accused the STC of smearing his name. But, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and other sex allegations that have enveloped the entertainment industry, his denials have failed to quell the storm. He resigned from AACTA on Saturday.
“ AACTA acknowledges the decision today of Geoffrey Rush to voluntarily step aside as President of AACTA and accepts and respects his decision to do so. We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances,” AACTA said in a statement posted to its website.
The scandal could not have come at a more sensitive moment for AACTA. The organization is scheduled to hold its annual awards lunch on Monday (Dec. 4). The 7th edition of its annual awards follow two days later on Wednesday evening.
“Mr. Rush has not been approached by the Sydney Theatre Company and the alleged complainant nor any representative of either of them concerning the matter you have raised,” Rush wrote in a letter issued by his lawyers, HWL Ebsworth. “In other words, there has been no provision of any details, circumstances, allegations or events that can be meaningfully responded to.”
“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.
Rush has been nominated four times for Academy Awards, and won for best actor in “Shine.” He has also been nominated five time for AFI Awards, the predecessors of the current AACTAs, winning for “Shine.” Additionally, he won the AFI’s Longford lifetime achievement award in 2009.