SYDNEY • King Leer? Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush sued and has now won initial damages of A$850,000 (S$824,000) after a court ruled that the Australian arm of News Corp defamed him by saying he behaved inappropriately towards a co-star in a production of King Lear.
The court, which found News Corp's Nationwide arm and reporter Jonathon Moran's articles in Daily Telegraph had failed to prove their allegations were true, will determine further damages later.
"This was in all the circumstances a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism," Judge Michael Wigney said.
Rush, 67, sued News Corp's Sydney tabloid over articles that said he was the subject of a complaint to the Sydney Theatre Company regarding a 2015 King Lear production.
Under the headline King Leer, and in later articles, the paper said the actor, in the title role, was accused by a co-star of unspecified inappropriate conduct.
Rush, who won Best Actor Oscar in 1997 for Shine, said the stories implied he was a pervert. "There are no winners in this case," he told reporters outside the court. "It's been extremely distressing for everyone involved."