×

Geoffrey Rush Resigns From Australian Academy Over Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actor Geoffrey Rush resigned Saturday as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The move follows allegations earlier in the week of inappropriate behavior, and comes just days before the academy hands out its annual awards.

One of the world’s best-known performers, Rush has credits that include “The King’s Speech,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Shakespeare in Love.” He won the Best Actor Oscar for “Shine.”

The allegations against him emerged Wednesday when the Sydney Theatre Company revealed that it had received a complaint about Rush after he appeared in “King Lear” there two years ago. Neither the STC nor Rush have provided any detail of the allegations.

Rush has accused the STC of smearing his name. But in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and other sexual harassment allegations that have rocked the entertainment industry, his denials have failed to quell the storm.

On Saturday, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, or AACTA, said it accepted and respected Rush’s decision “to voluntarily step aside” as the organization’s president. “We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances,” the AACTA said in a statement posted to its website.

Rush explained his move in a statement issued Saturday through his lawyers. “Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community. It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations,” Rush said.

“In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTA effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved. This decision has not been made lightly. However, in the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned.”

The scandal could not have come at a more sensitive moment for the Australian academy. The organization is scheduled to hold its annual awards lunch Monday. The 7th edition of its annual awards follows on Wednesday evening.

“Mr. Rush has not been approached by the Sydney Theatre Company and the alleged complainant nor any representative of either of them concerning the matter you have raised,” Rush’s lawyers, HWL Ebsworth, said in a statement. “In other words, there has been no provision of any details, circumstances, allegations or events that can be meaningfully responded to.

“It is a great disappointment to Mr. Rush the STC has chosen to smear his name and unjustifiably damage his reputation in this way,” the statement continued. “Not to afford a person their right to know what has been alleged against them, let alone not inform them of it but release such information to the public, is both a denial of natural justice and is not how our society operates.”

Rush has been nominated four times for Academy Awards, and won for “Shine.” He has also been nominated five time for AFI Awards, the predecessors of the current AACTA awards, winning for “Shine.” Additionally, he won the AFI’s Longford lifetime achievement award in 2009.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Universal's Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital. Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an [...]

  • They Shall Not Grow Old restoration

    Peter Jackson Documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Nabs Limited China Release

    The Peter Jackson produced and directed World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” will hit Chinese theaters on November 11. Though it will roll out nationwide, it will do so via the China’s National Arthouse Alliance, which has limited screens. The 2018 documentary puts together interviews with WWI veterans and more than 100-year-old [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    'Zombieland: Double Tap' Hopes to Recapture Raunchy Zombie Magic, 10 Years Later

    Audiences may have a few questions about the sequel to 2009’s hit “Zombieland,” which opens Friday. Why did it take 10 years to make a second one, after the first grossed $102.4 million worldwide on a $23 million budget, making it the third-biggest zombie movie of all time (second-biggest if you don’t count “Hotel Transylvania,” [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Sir Elton John poses for photographers

    Elton John Calls 'Lion King' Remake a 'Huge Disappointment'

    Elton John isn’t feeling the love for Disney’s latest live-action remake. In an interview with GQ U.K., the legendary musician criticized Disney’s remake of “The Lion King,” citing the film’s music as a “huge disappointment.” “The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music [...]

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content