Geoffrey Rush launches defamation lawsuit against Daily Telegraph newspaper

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Academy Award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush is suing News Corp Australia's Sydney tabloid, the Daily Telegraph, for defamation regarding stories it published about a complaint of alleged "inappropriate behaviour" by Rush during a production of King Lear.

Those claims surfaced at the end of November, accusing Rush of inappropriate behaviou during a 2015 production of King Lear.

"It is an action I'm taking in order to redress the slurs, innuendo and hyperbole that they have created around my standing in the entertainment industry and in the greater community", he told reporters.

"The situation is intolerable and I must now seek vindication of my good name through the courts", he said.

"The Daily Telegraph have made false pejorative and demeaning claims splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages".

The company did not disclose details of the allegation, saying the complainant asked that the allegation be dealt with confidentially and did not want Rush notified or involved in any investigation.

The 66-year-old said the allegations had affected a range of people including his children, his wife and colleagues in the film, television and theatre industry.

It's the Oscar winner's first public appearance since the claims were made.

"We will defend our position in court".

Apart from the "inappropriate behaviour" claim, no further information about the nature of the complaint or who made it was revealed.

"This is an action against only the Daily Telegraph", he said.

Rush said in a statement to The Associated Press he was stepping down "effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved".

Rush won the Best Actor Academy Award in 1997 for his role in Shine and is one of the few actors to have also won a primetime Emmy and a Tony Award.

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