08:26 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Actor Geoffrey Rush attends National Geographic's 'Genius' Premiere during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 20, 2017 in New York City

    Geoffrey Rush Steps Down From Screen Industry Post Over Misconduct Claims

    © AFP 2019 / ANGELA WEISS
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    The Oscar-winning actor denied the claims calling them "untenable," but noted that he didn't want his colleagues to be "somehow associated" with the allegations.

    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.

    READ MORE: Two US Lawmakers' Careers Called Into Question Amid Sex Misconduct Claims

    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.

    ​Others didn't doubt the reports about his alleged wrongdoing and praised women coming out to report cases of sexual abuse.

    The incident allegedly took place during a production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" two years ago.

    READ MORE: News Organizations ‘Have No Choice' But to Change Handling of Sexual Misconduct

    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.

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    sexual harassment, complaint, actor, Geoffrey Rush, Australia
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