AceShowbiz - Geoffrey Rush has won a record $2 million (£1.58 million) in damages over allegations he sexually harassed a female castmate.
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star took legal action against Nationwide News, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and journalist Jonathon Moran, over two Sydney Daily Telegraph articles based on a complaint from actress Eryn Jean Norvill about his behaviour during a 2015 Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of "King Lear".
Rush, 67, won his case last month (April 2019) and on Thursday, May 23 an Australian federal court heard that Rush and the Telegraph's lawyers had agreed he would receive $1.4 million (£1.1 million) for lost past and future earnings on top of an existing $587,000 (£465,000) payout.
The award is a record for an individual in Australia, after the $3.1 million (£2.45 million) handed to the actress Rebel Wilson over claims she lied about her age and background was reduced to $416,000 (£330,000).
According to The Guardian, Rush's barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, told the court her client had initially offered to settle the case in exchange for an apology and $34,300 (£27,200) plus costs, but the publisher did not respond.
Sydney Daily Telegraph editors ran a front page story, published under the headline 'King Lear' in November 2017, which alleged the STC had received an anonymous complaint about the star but provided no further details. The complainant was later revealed as Norvill.
The presiding judge, Justice Michael Wigney found the report and follow-up stories were, "in all the circumstances, a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the worst kind," and estimated his earnings would suffer even after his court win.
News Corp's lawyers are appealing against Wigney's ruling, claiming his conduct during the case "gave rise to an apprehension of bias."
They also asked the judge to recuse himself from ruling on an injunction application from Rush's lawyers preventing the Telegraph republishing allegations made against the actor, a demand he refused.
Both the injunction application and appeal cases are ongoing.