SYDNEY, Australia — The Australian actor Geoffrey Rush won his defamation case on Thursday against the parent company of a newspaper that published articles accusing him of sexual harassment.
The two front-page articles were published in late 2017 by The Daily Telegraph, a tabloid newspaper in Sydney owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide News. They said that during a Sydney Theater Company production of “King Lear” from November 2015 to January 2016, Mr. Rush acted inappropriately toward an unnamed female co-star later identified as Eryn Jean Norvill.
Speaking to a packed room in Sydney, Justice Michael Wigney of the Federal Court of Australia said that The Telegraph had not proved that the articles were substantially true, as required by Australian defamation law. He awarded 850,000 Australian dollars, or 8,000, in initial damages to Mr. Rush, with damages for the actor’s economic losses to be determined later.
“This is a sad and unfortunate case,” Justice Wigney said at the beginning of the verdict, adding that the accusations should have been “dealt with in a different way and in a different place to the harsh, adversarial world of a defamation proceeding.”
He also criticized Ms. Norvill’s testimony as “at times prone to exaggeration and embellishment.”
The case had served as a moment of reckoning in Australia for both the entertainment industry and the #MeToo movement there, and activists and lawyers said Thursday that the verdict could discourage others from speaking out about harassment.
“If you were a victim, you would see this and wonder whether subjecting yourself to this process would make it worse rather than better,” said Matt Collins, a defamation lawyer based in Victoria.
Ben English, editor of The Telegraph, said the newspaper was “disappointed” with Justice Wigney’s findings, “in particular his dismissal of Eryn Jean Norvill’s evidence. We disagree with his criticisms of her and she has our full support.”
Mr. Rush said after the verdict: “There are no winners in this case. It’s been extremely distressing for everyone involved.”
Mr. Rush, 67, argued during the trial that the articles wrongly portrayed him as a “sexual predator” and a “pervert.” One of them was illustrated by a photograph of a haunted-looking Mr. Rush in character as King Lear, accompanied by the headline “King Leer.”
The case rested largely on his word against that of Ms. Norvill.
Ms. Norvill, who is in her mid-30s, was not interviewed for the Telegraph articles but testified last year that Mr. Rush had sexually harassed her during rehearsals for “King Lear,” in which she played his daughter Cordelia. Among the allegations, she said that Mr. Rush had made “groping” and “cupping” gestures toward her breasts.
During one scene in a preview performance, Ms. Norvill said, Mr. Rush “deliberately” stroked her breast in front of the audience. At another point, she said, he traced her lower back along the waistline of her jeans with his fingertips.
Ms. Norvill said she had not formally complained at the time because as a junior member of the cast, she was intimidated by the power of Mr. Rush, an Oscar winner who has earned millions for “Pirates of the Caribbean” and other films. Other members of the “King Lear” production were “complicit” in turning a blind eye, Ms. Norvill said.
Justice Wigney said Ms. Norvill had no vested interest in the case and was “dragged into the spotlight by the actions of Nationwide News” and the author of the articles, Jonathon Moran.
He called the articles, which the court heard were based on anonymous sources, “a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind.”
But he also said Ms. Norvill’s account was “inconsistent” and “directly contradicted” by other witnesses, including Neil Armfield, the Australian director of the play.
“I was not ultimately persuaded that Ms. Norvill was an entirely credible witness or that her evidence about the allegations was reliable,” Justice Wigney said.
In a statement after the verdict, Ms. Norvill said she stood by her testimony.
“I told the truth. I know what happened. I was there,” she said. “I would’ve been content to receive a simple apology and a promise to do better, without any of this.”
The case is significant in Australia because Mr. Rush “is the first international actor who has brought defamation proceedings that have flowed out of the#MeToo movement,” said Richard Ackland, publisher of the law journals Justinian and Gazette of Law and Journalism and a former host of the Australian television show “Media Watch.”
“This is a serious blow for the #MeToo movement,” he said. “It really shows the artifice and contrivance of defamation proceedings in this country.”
While public figures suing for defamation in the United States must prove that the allegations made against them are false and were published with malice, in Australia it is the publisher who must prove that the allegations are true.
“The decision does highlight the difference between U.S. and Australian laws when it comes to #MeToo,” said Sophie Dawson, a Sydney-based partner at the international law firm Bird & Bird. American laws “make it much easier for people who make allegations of sexual harassment and similar conduct to successfully defend defamation proceedings.”
Justice Wigney tried to distance his findings from the #MeToo movement, saying, “It is not for the court to provide some broader social commentary about sexual harassment in the theater or entertainment industry in Australia, or the #MeToo movement, or the effect Australia’s defamation laws may have in relation to that movement.”
Advocates for #MeToo, who say the movement has been more muted in Australia because of the strict defamation laws, have been watching the case closely.
“The Geoffrey Rush case is important for the theater industry today and for other women with #MeToo cases. It’s vital to remember actor Eryn Jean Norvill is not the one on trial,” Elissa Blake, a co-founder of the Australian arts platform Audrey Journal, said on Twitter on Thursday before the verdict was announced.
Sophie Mathisen, an Australian feminist filmmaker, said the verdict was “tantamount to a gag order to any person in Australia experiencing sexual harassment in saying you will not be believed, most likely you’ll be punished.”B:
“【妈】，【起】【来】【吧】。”【方】【萋】【萋】【扶】【着】【方】【母】，【就】【要】【起】【身】。 【方】【母】【横】【她】【一】【眼】，【用】【力】【甩】【开】【她】，“【没】【用】【的】【东】【西】！” 【方】【萋】【萋】【咬】【着】【唇】【瓣】，【竭】【力】【隐】【忍】【着】【心】【中】【的】【怒】【意】。【她】【若】【不】【是】【方】【家】【的】【人】，【刚】【才】【根】【本】【不】【会】【问】【林】【晓】【那】【句】【话】。 【方】【母】【利】【落】【地】【站】【起】【身】，【回】【过】【头】，【气】【咻】【咻】【地】【盯】【着】【已】【经】【远】【去】【的】【人】【影】，“【你】【如】【果】【早】【点】【搞】【定】【了】【林】【晓】，【今】【天】【我】【们】【至】【于】【这】【么】【狼】
【说】【到】【这】【里】，【他】【手】【中】【的】【水】【晶】【似】【乎】【像】【是】【感】【应】【到】【了】【这】【句】【话】【而】【闪】【了】【一】【下】，【霍】【布】【斯】【笑】【眯】【眯】【的】【说】【道】：“【你】【看】，【晴】【子】【不】【好】【意】【思】【了】。 【乔】【海】【一】【脸】【不】【可】【置】【信】，【他】【伸】【手】【指】【了】【指】【那】【块】【在】【他】【眼】【里】【看】【起】【来】【十】【分】【诡】【异】【的】【水】【晶】，“【我】【可】【没】【有】【给】【你】【说】【这】【玩】【意】【是】【北】【川】【晴】【子】【的】【东】【西】，【你】【是】【怎】【么】【看】【出】【来】【的】？【而】【且】【你】【为】【什】【么】【说】【这】【个】【东】【西】【就】【是】【她】？” 【霍】【布】【斯】【无】【奈】【的】
【杨】【欣】【莹】【冷】【静】【了】【下】【来】，【把】【眼】【泪】【和】【鼻】【涕】【全】【都】【弄】【在】【了】【肖】【海】【的】【衣】【服】【上】，【然】【后】【脸】【红】【了】。【嘴】【上】【还】【是】【不】【饶】【人】【地】【讲】：“【我】【怎】【么】【知】【道】【你】【说】【的】【是】【真】【的】【还】【是】【假】【的】？【万】【一】【你】【是】【骗】【我】【的】【怎】【么】【办】？” “【你】【的】【手】【机】【借】【我】【用】【一】【下】。”【肖】【海】【松】【开】【了】【一】【些】，【脖】【子】【上】【被】【咬】【的】【地】【方】【传】【来】【阵】【阵】【隐】【痛】。 【杨】【欣】【莹】【不】【解】【地】【看】【着】【他】，【但】【还】【是】【把】【自】【己】【的】【手】【机】【给】【了】【他】。“【你】【要】北京中特物流招聘信息【莱】【姆】【离】【开】【幽】【灵】【泰】【沙】【之】【后】1【分】【钟】，【一】【个】【壮】【汉】【带】【着】【一】【群】【穿】【着】【灰】【色】【衣】【服】【的】【人】【拦】【住】【了】【莱】【姆】【的】【去】【路】【说】【道】：“【抱】【歉】【呢】！【不】【能】【让】【你】【过】【去】！” 【莱】【姆】【看】【着】【壮】【汉】【说】【道】：“【恩】？【看】【起】【来】【你】【们】【一】【个】【个】【都】【是】【有】【备】【而】【来】【呢】？【黑】【暗】【公】【会】【吗】？【大】【个】【子】。。【你】【不】【会】【准】【备】【说】【无】【可】【奉】【告】【吧】？” 【壮】【汉】【笑】【道】：“【怎】【么】【会】！【我】【确】【实】【是】【黑】【暗】【工】【会】【的】【成】【员】！【不】【过】【我】【不】
【码】【字】【不】【易】，【请】【支】【持】【正】【版】【阅】【读】！【裘】【关】【月】【其】【实】【并】【不】【是】【个】【喜】【欢】【扎】【堆】【的】【人】，【这】【种】【探】【险】【性】【质】【的】【活】【动】，【她】【比】【较】【喜】【欢】【当】【个】【独】【行】【侠】。 【但】【是】【当】【大】【家】【一】【窝】【蜂】【的】【冲】【进】【沼】【泽】【以】【后】，【唐】【家】【的】【几】【个】【人】【都】【聚】【集】【在】【她】【身】【边】，【不】【论】【她】【如】【何】【明】【示】【暗】【示】，【都】【赶】【不】【走】。 【唐】【玉】，【唐】【枫】，【唐】【顾】，【唐】【城】，【还】【有】【两】【个】【不】【怎】【么】【熟】【悉】【的】【唐】【家】【子】【弟】，【唐】【锦】【和】【唐】【锐】。 【他】【们】【十】
【巨】【型】【的】【火】【焰】【球】【粉】【碎】【掉】【两】【边】【的】【房】【屋】【继】【而】【碾】【压】【向】【我】【们】，【我】【看】【着】【仿】【佛】【打】【开】【地】【狱】【之】【门】【的】【火】【焰】【球】，【自】【己】【束】【手】【无】【策】，【只】【有】【一】【个】【银】【白】【长】【发】【的】【女】【性】【身】【影】【去】【阻】【挡】。 “【亚】【尔】【帝】【泽】【罗】！【请】【赐】【予】【我】【穿】【破】【一】【切】【的】【伟】【力】！” 【精】【灵】【王】【的】【伟】【力】【从】【细】【剑】【释】【放】【出】【来】，【修】【长】【的】【剑】【身】【散】【发】【一】【圈】【圈】【的】【风】【之】【环】【流】【向】【剑】【尖】，【阿】【菲】【利】【斯】【呐】【喊】【着】【迈】【出】【一】【大】【步】，【她】【双】【手】【握】【紧】