Yael Stone alleges in a New York Times op/ed that the veteran actor danced naked in front of her, sent erotic text messages and watched her shower with a mirror.
Stone spoke with the New York Times in a piece published Sunday, where she claimed a litany of allegations against the veteran actor while the two shared a dressing room at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre from 2010-11.
According to Stone, Rush "danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered and sent her occasionally erotic text messages." She was 25 years old at the time. Rush was 59.
Reached for comment by the Times, Rush denied the allegations. "From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behavior made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context," he said in a statement.
Rush went on to add 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."
He described their ongoing correspondence, which continued for years after their time together on the stage, as one of "mutual respect and admiration," and concluded his statement by saying, "I abhor any behavior that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone - whether in the workplace or any other environment."
Stone admitted that she didn't always say no to Rush, and even encouraged some of his behavior at times, but said she did so out of fear of offending a mentor and friend. Now, she faces a different kind of fear: The upside-down libel laws of Australia.
Essentially, Australia does not enjoy the same freedom of speech that the United States does, so Ms. Stone faces legal consequences if she and any paper that publishes her story cannot prove unequivocally that her allegations are true. Another actress is currently facing those very legal battles for similar allegations against Rush.
He has denied her allegations as well, stemming from a 2015-16 production of "King Lear," and sued the Daily Telegraph, which published her story, for libel. Originally anonymous, the woman's name was made a matter of public record when the newspaper's owner, Rupert Murdoch's Nationwide News, offered its defense.
Stone shared some of the messages she exchanged with Rush during their production, and said she was embarrassed now by how enthusiastically she participated, adding, "I certainly wouldn’t engage as the person I am now in the way I did when I was 25."
The actress admits she maintained a friendship with Rush after the production, but felt it always had this unspoken issue hanging over it. She only came forward a year after sending an email to Rush in an attempt to talk things through directly with him. She says he never responded.
Stone said she was afraid to speak up back then, as the incidents became more sexually charged. "There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity," she said. "This was a huge star. What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?"
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