Geoffrey Rush has denied claims made by actress Yael Stone that he acted inappropriately on the set of the play The Diary Of A Madman at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre in 2010-2011 when she was 25 and he was 59.
Speaking to the New York Times and ABC’s 7.30 yesterday, Stone alleged Rush used a small mirror to watch her in the shower, danced in front of her naked and sent her “erotic” text messages which gradually “became more sexual in nature.”
In another alleged incident, Stone said Rush stroked her back at an awards ceremony “in a very sensual manner for an extended period” that was “unwanted.”
The ABC stated it had seen an email written by Rush to Stone apologising for the incident, saying, “Sorry, I also played with your back in the green room. Uncalled for but had to.”
Stone also claimed Rush invited her “in a physically intimate way” to come home with him, saying, “There was no mistaking what that invitation meant. His mouth was very close to my ear, I could feel his lips up against my body.”
Stone said she declined the invitation, “I did so in a way that made clear I didn’t want to sleep with him. I said ‘no thank you I don’t want to come home with you’.”
In a statement sent to News Corp, Rush denied the claims, writing: “From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some cases taken out of context.”
“However, 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. When we performed The Diary Of A Madman eight years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades,” the statement continued.
“Over the years we have shared correspondence that always contained a mutual respect and admiration. As I said in the past, I abhor any behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.”
Stone said she sent Rush an email with the subject “Challenging times” last year, after he was accused on inappropriate behaviour by his King Lear co-star at the Sydney Theatre Company.
The email detailed how aspects of Rush’s behaviour made Stone uncomfortable.
“I don’t think you ever said or did anything with the intention of making me feel uncomfortable but (the fact is) I can no longer dance around that it did,” she wrote.
Rush did not reply to the email.