Geoffrey Rush has stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts after allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” were levelled at the veteran actor, Associated Press reported.
The anonymous complainant alleged that during a Sydney Theatre Company production of the play King Lear between November 2015 and January 2016, Rush touched an actress inappropriately. “The complainant requested that the allegation be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Rush notified or involved in any investigation,” Associated Press reported.
Rush denied the allegation, and announced on Saturday that he was stepping down as president of the academy. “Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community,” the acclaimed actor said in a statement. “It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.”
Rush, whose credits include Elizabeth, Munich, The King’s Speech, the Pirates of the Caribbean films and the television series Genius, has been performing with the Sydney theatre for 35 years. “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,” he said in his statement. “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.”