Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean

Orange Is The New Black Star Yael Stone Accuses Geoffrey Rush of Sexual Misconduct

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Today, we kicked off the day with a story on new allegations against Woody Allen, and we’re closing it with new allegations against Geoffrey Rush.

Orange Is The New Black star Yael Stone, who worked with Rush in a 2010 theatrical production of The Diary of a Madman, said that Rush behaved inappropriately towards her, including exposing himself, fondling her, and trying to watch her shower. Stone said in a New York Times interview, “There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity. This was a huge star. What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?”

She also said of working with him, “I’ve been in that particular dressing room in Sydney on many occasions with many wonderfully talented actors and many wonderfully talented clowns. And people have made me belly laugh till I couldn’t breathe. Never once has someone needed to show me their penis to do that.”

Rush has denied the allegations, saying in a statement that they are “incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context.” He added:

“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 in ‘The Diary Of A Madman’ 8 years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades. Over the years we have shared correspondence that always contained a mutual respect and admiration. As I have said in the past, I abhor any behavior that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.”

Rush has previously been accused of misconduct by an actress who worked with him on a production of King Lear.

Stone’s story is deeply upsetting. The fact that she did not feel comfortable speaking out against her male co-star due to his star status is horrifying. It goes without saying that no one should be exempt from consequences for their actions, and Stone is courageous for speaking out now with her allegations. Rush’s statement is not an apology but rather a way of denying any sort of wrongdoing by saying his intention was not to cause distress and by saying that because of continued correspondence, that means nothing could have happened.

Stone never said if there was continued correspondence, but even if there was, that does not mean that the alleged harassment did not occur. It could also mean that Stone continued a correspondence with a famous actor so as not to appear difficult to work with. Also, just because someone maintains contact with someone does not mean that harm did not occur. Consider how many people stay with abusive partners, or who speak with abusive family members. It should not be used to dismiss Stone’s claims.

With two allegations against him, it will be interesting to see if Rush’s career is affected in any way. Given how most men seem to bounce back after such claims, it is likely that Rush will continue to find steady work.

(via IndieWire, image: Disney)

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Image of Kate Gardner
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.