Australian actor and film producer Geoffrey Rush has quit his post as president of Australia's screen industry academy following the Sydney Theatre Company's (STC) announcement that it had received a complaint accusing the actor of "inappropriate behavior."
"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," the 66-year-old actor said, cited by media.
"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," he added.
The Sydney Theatre Company has not revealed the details of the claim. However, on Friday, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper anonymously cited two sources from the theater, saying that Rush was allegedly accused by another actor of touching her inappropriately.
Social media users were quick to react to the news.
Some of them accused the theater comany of handling the issue in a wrong way, assuming that the actor might be innocent.
So #GeoffreyRush has done "something", to "someone", at "somepoint"….seems that this allegation, which hasnt even been confirmed what it was, is a bit, well, flakey at best.— The Ricky Collins (@RickySpurs101) 1 декабря 2017 г.
The disgraceful way @SydneyTheatreCo is handling the Geoffrey Rush ‘scandal’ warrants the State Minister for The Arts to step in. It’s playing out in a mightily unfair way to the complainant & Mr Rush.— Peter Ford (@mrpford) 2 декабря 2017 г.
Was very much looking forward to Muriel's Wedding & buying tix for family 4 Xmas. Unfortunately won't be coming anywhere near STC after its outrageous treatment of Geoffrey Rush. Not taking his side, but the side of due process, not trial thru the media. STC shld be ashamed.— Steve Madden (@Steve_Madden56) 30 ноября 2017 г.
Others didn't doubt the reports about his alleged wrongdoing and praised women coming out to report cases of sexual abuse.
First Don Burke then Geoffrey Rush. As more & more stories of men in the media and entertainment industry comes out it is up to the rest of us to listen and believe the women who dare to speak out. They are brave and deserve space to be heard— Sarah Hanson-Young🌈 (@sarahinthesen8) 1 декабря 2017 г.
I hope his victims, and there will be more than one, get through the next days, weeks, and months without the indignity of Australian tabloid media targeting. I hope the opposite happens to Geoffrey Rush. https://t.co/HrpUkZJvcU— Nic Holas (@nicheholas) 29 ноября 2017 г.
The incident allegedly took place during a production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" two years ago.
However, the complaint, claiming that Rush's alleged misbehavior lasted for months, was sent only after the play's run was over in January 2016.
Rush has been working with the company for 35 years. The actor has three Oscar nominations and is worldwide famous for his role as Captain Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.