The Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush took the stand during the second day of his defamation trial in Australia, and delivered emotional, tearful testimony during which he insisted he never sexually harassed his accuser, Eryn Jean Norvill.
Rush has been accused of misconduct by a fellow actor on the set of King Lear. In addition to denying wrongdoing, Rush is suing the publisher of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph and journalist Jonathan Moran over a report detailing allegations against him.
The paper is defending itself by using Norvill’s words against him. She claimed he "traced his hand down her torso and across the right side of her breast during a scene on stage when Rush, as King Lear, is grieving the dead body of Cordelia."
Rush denied her claims on the stand. "For this scene I’ve always imagined it was my own real life daughter and she’d been hit by a bus on the street near where we lived ... And I knew she was gone. I carried her to the footpath and every night I would reinvent that scene in my mind," he said. "I needed that trigger."
"Did you ever intentionally touch her on the breast?" asked Rush’s lawyer, Bruce McClintock.
"No," replied Rush. He continued, saying he filed the suit because the report "made me want to give up this profession, because I was deeply embarrassed by it."
He also defended the text message he sent, in which he wrote "Thinking of you as I do more than is socially appropriate." It included an emoji face with its tongue hanging out. The 67-year-old claimed the text was a "joke."