Rush denied the claims in a statement to the Times. “From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context,” he wrote.
“However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work,” Rush continued. “I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention.”
Reps for Stone and Rush referred PEOPLE to their comments to the Times.
“It was the biggest break I had ever had,” Stone said of appearing in the play at age 25. “This wasn’t a steppingstone. It was a leap across the river.”
“There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity. This was a huge star,” she commented about Rush, who was 59 during the production. “What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?”
As the gig got started, Rush sent Stone text messages that the Times called “affectionate and flirtatious, flowery and yet occasionally vulgar.” Stone admitted that she “enthusiastically and willingly” responded to the texts.
“I was so flattered that someone like that would spend their time texting me into the very early hours of the morning,” Stone said. “Gradually the text messages became more sexual in nature, but always encased in this very highfalutin intellectual language.”
“I’m embarrassed by the ways I participated,” Stone added. “I certainly wouldn’t engage as the person I am now in the way I did when I was 25.”
She told the Times about “strange intimacies in the dressing room” that the two shared, like when Rush took naps alongside her.
Stone said that he positioned a mirror to look at her as she was showering. “I remember I looked up to see there was a small shaving mirror over the top of the partition between the showers and he was using it to look down at my naked body,” Stone claimed. “I believe that it was meant with a playful intention, but the effect was that I felt there was nowhere for me to feel safe and unobserved.”
In another episode, Rush allegedly danced naked in a “playful, clownish manner” in Stone’s presence. “I didn’t want him to think I was no fun, that I was one of those people who couldn’t take a joke,” Stone said.
“When we performed in The Diary Of A Madman 8 years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades,” Rush said in his statement to the Times about Stone. “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 behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment,” Rush concluded.
People involved the production, friends, family and Stone’s diary entries from the time corroborated aspects of Stone’s accusations to the Times. Australia’s libel system, which dictates that accusers rather than people accused must prove their claims, is complicating Stone’s situation, according to the Times.
In November 2017, a Sydney Theatre Company spokewoman said that the group received a complaint about “inappropriate behaviour” by Rush, according to the Australian company ABC. Rush denied the allegations.
In December 2017, Rush resigned as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.
Rush sued The Daily Telegraph‘s publisher Nationwide News after the Telegraph wrote about the claims, according to the Times. Nationwide News said that Eryn Jean Norvill was the accuser.