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They Could Have Paid Rush $35K. Now He's Getting $1.9M

It's the largest amount awarded to an individual in Australia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2019 8:19 AM CDT
In this Feb. 12, 2013, file photo, Geoffrey Rush poses at a photo call for "The Best Offer" at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

(Newser) – Geoffrey Rush won his defamation case last month against an Australian newspaper and journalist, and he just found out how much he'll get for it: $1.9 million. CNN reports $1.35 million of that was handed down Thursday to the 67-year-old Aussie actor by Justice Michael Wigney to compensate Rush for the financial losses he suffered as a result of the allegations. Rush had already been awarded nearly $600,000 in damages in April. The complaint revolved around allegations by actress Eryn Jean Norvill of inappropriate behavior toward her by Rush while they were performing together in a 2015-16 production of King Lear.

Rush contends the newspaper defamed him by publishing Norvill's accusations, including in one article titled "King Leer." The Guardian notes this is the largest payout in an Australian defamation case awarded to an individual, and it looks like it could have been avoided: The paper notes Rush's lawyer said in court Thursday that Rush had offered early last year to settle with the Telegraph for $35,000 and a simple "we're sorry," but the publisher never got back to Rush's legal team. Norvill continues to contend her claims are true. A rep for News Corp Australia, the owner of the Telegraph, tells 9News the paper has filed an appeal. (Rebel Wilson initially saw a much higher defamation award in her own Australian case, but the amount was subsequently slashed.)

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