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CANBERRA, Australia — Geoffrey Rush announced Saturday he’s stepping down as president of Australia’s screen industry academy, days after a theater company revealed it had received a complaint against the Oscar-winning actor of “inappropriate behavior.”
Rush has denied any inappropriate behavior at the Sydney Theatre Company. Media reports this week said the allegation dated from Rush’s starring role in the leading Australian theater’s staging of William Shakespeare’s King Lear two years ago.
Rush said he stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts ahead of the academy’s annual televised awards in Sydney on Wednesday.
“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,” Rush said in a statement to The Associated Press through his lawyer Nicholas Pullen.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
AACTA said in a statement it accepted and respected Rush’s decision to voluntarily step aside.
“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,” said AACTA, adding it would not comment further.
The Sydney Theatre Company was not disclosing details of the allegation.
“At the time the complaint was made, the…