Actor Geoffrey Rush is virtually housebound, barely eats and is taking medication for anxiety, according to documents filed in a defamation lawsuit against The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
The claims are contained in an affidavit as part of his legal action against the newspaper being heard in the Federal Court in Sydney.
His lawyers have detailed the “ongoing hurt” caused by newspaper’s articles, which alleged he engaged in inappropriate behaviour towards a fellow performer during the 2015-16 Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of King Lear.
The affidavit claimed Rush had suffered “tremendous emotional and social hardship” as a result of the allegations.
It also said the actor suffers from loss of sleep, has lost his appetite, barely eats and believes his worth to the theatre and film industry is “now irreparably damaged”.
“The applicant has found that as a direct result of the publications he has been constantly associated in Australia and internationally with the #MeToo movement,” the affidavit read.
The document also pointed to the allegations being published in seven other countries than Australia.
Rush denies all allegations against him.
Confidential STC source revealed in court
The Daily Telegraph has chosen to name one the confidential sources it used to confirm its front-page story on Rush.
Lawyers for the newspaper have claimed in court documents that STC Executive Director, Patrick McIntyre, was one of the people who confirmed to its reporter Jonathan Moran that a complaint had been made against Rush.
The newspaper has filed a cross claim against the STC, which would pave the way for it to help pay damages if the court finds the newspaper had defamed him.
In the Federal Court, Rush’s lawyer Sue Chrysanthou questioned why The Daily Telegraph had now decided to name one of the confidential sources.
“What has given rise in the change in position?” she asked.
Ms Chrysanthou told the court that when speaking to the reporter on the phone, the STC’s Mr McIntyre said “not for attribution”.
She said that meant “do not use my name, mate”.
Ms Chrysanthou also told the court the “sole reason” for revealing the source was “so that the confidential source can be sued”.
She labelled the cross claim as “very unusual indeed”.
Rush’s lawyer told the court the newspaper rang a person and the Sydney Theatre Company for information on a story.
“It complied. Now it’s being sued.”
The defamation case is likely to go to trial in December.