Aussie court upholds Geoffrey Rush’s $2 million defamation payout
Sydney, Australia, Jul 2 (efe-epa) – The Australian Federal Court on Thursday ruled that the Nationwide News media will have to pay a multi-million dollar amount in damages to actor Geoffrey Rush for defaming him in a series of articles published in 2017 that accused him of behaving inappropriately towards a co-star.
The Federal Court of Australia rejected the appeal presented by Nationwide News, publishers of Daily Telegraph and subsidiary of News Corp Australia, against a ruling issued in May 2019 which held the company to pay some AUD 2.9 million ($2 million) that included the economic loses incurred due to defamation.
The three Federal court judges in the ruling said that they were,”not persuaded that there was any error by the Judge,” and added that the “damages might have been assessed at a much higher level.”
The Oscar winning Australian actor sued Nationwide News and journalist, Jonathan Moran, for the two articles published in November 2017, which accused him of “inappropriate behavior,” toward an unidentified actress.
During the trial, the alleged victim was revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill, who starred with Rush in the “King Lear” production of the Sydney Theatre Company between November 2015 and January 2016.
Norvill said that during a rehearsal the actor had made “lewd groping and fondling gestures.”
Rush, who portrays the role of captain Barbossa in “The Pirates of Caribbean,” said that he had not worked since the publication of the defamatory articles and according to his lawyers, lost some AUD 5 million.
Last year, the judge who examined the case held that the, “articles were published in an extravagant, excessive, and sensationalist manner.”
Nationwide News still has one last appeal to try to reverse the payout. EFE-EPA