“Orange Is the New Black” star Yael Stone came forward Monday with allegations of misconduct against Geoffrey Rush, a year after the Oscar-winning actor was accused of inappropriately touching another Australian actress while working on a theater production.
Stone told the New York Times on Monday the alleged incidents happened in 2010 and 2011 when she and Rush were co-stars in the theater production, “The Diary of a Madman.” The Australian actress said she worshipped Rush and was ecstatic when she was chosen to star in the theater production.
“It was the biggest break I had ever had,” Stone told the New York Times. “This wasn’t a stepping stone. It was a leap across the river.”
But things took a turn, according to Stone. Rush allegedly sent texts to Stone that were “affectionate and flirtatious, flowery and yet occasionally vulgar.” Stone said she “enthusiastically and willingly” responded to the texts despite feeling uncomfortable about the content Rush was sending her.
“I was so flattered that someone like that would spend their time texting me into the very early hours of the morning,” she recalled. “Gradually the text messages became more sexual in nature, but always encased in this very highfalutin intellectual language.”
Stone alleged that Rush once held up a mirror to spy on her while she was in the shower at the theater.
“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 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,” she said.
The actress described another dressing room incident when Rush danced “totally naked” in front of her in a “playful, clownish manner” while she was removing her makeup. She said she playfully responded with “an attitude of, ‘Oh, you’re a very naughty boy’” because she feared how Rush would portray her if she told him she was uncomfortable.
“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.
She recalled at an award show where Rush touched her back “in a very sensual manner” that was “unwanted and sustained.” She added that Rush later apologized for the inappropriate touching, saying it was “uncalled-for but had to.”
Stone said she’s been silent about her allegations because of several factors, including losing friends and being shut down by Australia’s defamation laws.
Rush denied Stone’s allegations in a statement to the New York Times, calling the alleged incidents “incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context.”
“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,” Rush said in a statement Monday.
In December 2017, Rush also faced allegations of misconduct after Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph accused the 67-year-old of behaving inappropriately toward actress Eryn Jean Norvill during the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of “King Lear” in 2015 and 2016.
Rush later filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for portraying him as a pervert and a sexual predator in the article.
The 34-year-old actress testified in court in October that she was playing King Lear’s dead daughter Cordelia when Rush, playing the distraught father, stroked his hand across the side of her right breast and on to her hip during a preview performance.
Rush vehemently denied the accusations.
Following the 2017 articles, Rush stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, Variety reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.