Following allegations earlier in the week of inappropriate behavior, and just days before the organisation hands out its annual awards, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has resigned as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).
The allegations against him emerged Wednesday when the Sydney Theatre Company revealed that it had received a complaint about Rush after he appeared in “King Lear” there two years ago, but details of the allegations were not provided.
Rush has since accused the STC of smearing his name. On Saturday, AACTA said it accepted and respected Rush’s decision to voluntarily step aside as the organization’s president:
“We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances.”
In a statement issued Saturday through his lawyers, Rush says:
“Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community. It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.
In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTA effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved. This decision has not been made lightly. However, in the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned.”
Along with an inconvenient time for AACTA, coming right ahead of their awards, the report hits as the Australian film and TV industry is coming under increased scrutiny for inappropriate behaviour and sexual misconduct that has taken place over the years.