Yael Stone and Geoffrey Rush are both actors who hail from Australia, originally. On December 16, Stone revealed details of alleged harassment to The New York Times that she experienced from Rush while acting with him in 2010 and 2011.
Rush has categorically denied Stone’s claims, and said in a statement to The New York Times that “clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work. I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. In a New York Times exposé, Stone Details Several Allegations of Sexual Harassment Against Her Former Co-Star, Rush
To The New York Times, Stone detailed the various ways in which Rush harassed her, by her account, and made her feel uncomfortable while they were co-starring in The Diary of a Madman, a play that ran first in Sydney and then in New York in 2010 and 2011. At the time, Stone was 25 years old and Rush was 69 years old.
By Stone’s account (which was corroborated by family members and friends to The New York Times), Rush made her feel uncomfortable in the following ways: he held a mirror up in the bathroom to see her naked body while she showered, texted her erotic messages late into the night, and often acted “strangely intimate” in the dressing room with her.
2. Australian Law Dictates That Stone Could Be Sued for Libel If She Can’t Prove What Happened
Because Stone is an Australian, she has a different legal structure to navigate, in leveling these claims of harassment against Rush. Unlike the American system, Australia does not have an explicit constitutional protection for freedom of speech, and Stone could be sued for libel if she wasn’t able to prove definitively that these acts had happened.
Stone said to The New York Times, I know I have truth on my side… [but] you can see in all of my communications with you that there’s an element of terror.”
3. Rush Has Been Accused of Sexual Harassment by Another Actress, Eryn Jean Norvill, in 2017
This is not the first time Rush has been accused of sexual harassment. In 2017, actress Eryn Jean Norvill accused him of harassment as well, during their time acting together in King Lear.
Following the accusation, Rush sued The Daily Telegraph, which first ran the story, for defamation. During the trial, which took place in November, Norvill testified that Rush would often mimic touching her breasts with “groping” or “cupping” gestures while they were rehearsing, and that he sent her inappropriate text messages, as well.
The verdict for his defamation trial will be announced at some point in 2019; Rush has asked for millions in compensation, arguing that he hasn’t been able to work since the news came out.
4. Rush Is Known for His Acting Work, Both on the Big Screen & on the Stage
To The New York Times, Stone described Rush as a “national treasure” for Australia. He was even named the Australian of the year in 2012.
Stone said of Rush, “He has managed to draw a long bow between his training at Lecoq as a clown all the way through to understanding the internal workings of someone like David Helfgott, for which he won the Academy Award for ‘Shine.’”
Rush has 64 acting credits on IMDB, including his work in The King’s Speech, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and Shakespeare in Love. He has won one Oscar, and been nominated thrice.
5. Stone Initially Wrote Rush an Email, But When He Never Responded She Decided to go Public
Stone told The New York Times that she initially did not want to speak out, and that she wrote him a letter instead, seeking closure within an email. But when he never wrote her back, she decided she had to go public.
The email read in part, “In the name of years of friendship I wanted to share with you what I have always been afraid to say,” she wrote. “I hope it’s possible for you to receive this in the spirit that it is meant. With a view toward healing.”