Actor Geoffrey Rush has been awarded nearly $2.9 million in his defamation case against Nationwide News.
The sum is the largest ever defamation payout to an individual in Australian legal history.
In November 2017, the newspaper published front pages and articles alleging Rush behaved inappropriately towards a young actress during the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015-16 production of King Lear.
Rush sued The Daily Telegraph and journalist Jonathon Moran following the article headlined “King Leer.”
Last month Justice Michael Wigney described the article as an “recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalism journalism of the very worst kind” adding it was “calculated to damage.” He noted the article destroyed Rush’s reputation and awarded initial aggravated damages to Rush of $850,000 plus $42,302 interest for non-economic loss.
Today the judge awarded Rush a further $1.98 million for past and future economic loss.
Rush’s barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, today said Rush had offered in early 2018 to settle in exchange for an apology and $50,000 plus costs but Nationwide News didn’t respond.
Nationwide News is appealing the defamation verdict on 16 grounds Justice Wigney was biased, one of those includes that “Witness X” Yael Stone’s evidence could not be admitted.