Yael Stone is getting support after coming forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Geoffrey Rush, including from her Orange Is the New Black co-star Natasha Lyonne.
Stone detailed her claims to the New York Times in a story that ran Sunday. She said that during a stage production of Diary of a Madman in 2010 and 2011, when she, at 25, was a relative unknown actress and he, at 59, a long-established award-winning star, Rush sent her inappropriate texts that were “sexual in nature,” positioned a mirror to watch her shower and danced “totally naked” in front of her. Rush — who was also accused of sexual misconduct by Eryn Jean Norvill — said Stone’s assertions are “incorrect,” telling the paper that she must have been “upset” by his “spirited enthusiasm” at work and for that he regrets “if I have caused her any distress.”
Stone has starred as Lorna Morello in OITNB since 2013, and her co-star Lyonne, who played her love interest, made it very clear she’s in Stone’s corner. On Monday, Lyonne wrote on Twitter that she knows “no person of greater integrity” than Stone, whom she also described as “deeply compassionate” and “trustworthy as anyone could ever aspire to be.”
— natasha lyonne (@nlyonne) December 17, 2018
Stone has been receiving a lot of support in general.
I had the very brief but delightful pleasure of working with @YaelStone on a film in #Australia. And it devastes me to hear of her experience working with #GeoffreyRush. When will our men learn? #EnoughIsEnough
— tanc sade (@TancSade) December 17, 2018
What an incredibly articulate, measured, thoughtful and impressive woman is @YaelStone
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) December 17, 2018
Thank you @YaelStone for speaking with such thought, honesty and courage. You have provided leadership and compassion during a time when so many have been made to feel scared to voice their right to be treated fairly and to feel safe #abc730
— Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiahlui) December 17, 2018
Nuance, compassion, complexity, and clear-sightedness. I've actually never seen an interview like it. She's extraordinary. With this kind of leadership for change, a real cultural shift feels achievable. Thank you @YaelStone and @abc730
— 🌈 Virginia 🌈 Gay 🌈 (@virginia_gay) December 17, 2018
@YaelStone You are wonderful and brave ❤️❤️
— Clementine Ford 🧟♀️ (@clementine_ford) December 17, 2018
Stone, who like Rush is Australian, said she had additional reservations about going public with her allegations because of Australia’s defamation laws. “I know I have truth on my side,” Stone told the paper, and yet “there’s an element of terror.”
Of the allegations, which also included inappropriate touching at an awards show (which led to Rush writing to apologize to her the next day), Stone told the NYT that she faults herself because she didn’t say no to Rush, who she saw as a mentor and friend. (He wrote a letter to help her get a visa to work in the United States.) For instance, when he danced around naked one night as she removed her makeup, she responded with “an attitude of, ‘Oh, you’re a very naughty boy.’ … I didn’t want him to think I was no fun, that I was one of those people who couldn’t take a joke.”
She suffered anxiety because of the situation, telling the person she was dating at the time that she was worried to have to go out with Rush after the show “because I was nervous about what was expected of me.” Last year, as the #MeToo movement exploded, Stone said she sent Rush an email saying he made her uncomfortable when they worked together. He never replied. “If Geoffrey had written back and said I’m sorry and offered to work with me to inspire positive change in our industry, it may have transformed both of our lives for the better.” Because he didn’t, she came forward. “I do believe it’s a matter of significance to the public.”
Stone has since given an interview to Australia’s ABC 7.30. “Whenever women particularly speak about issues like this, their career generally suffers,” she said. “I’ve factored that into my calculations, and if that happens, I think it’s worth it.”
Rush previously denied allegations of misconduct during a 2015 Australian stage production of King Lear. An actress, later determined to be Norvill, accused him of touching her breast on a Sydney stage and said he followed her into a toilet at a party after a performance. Rush denied the allegations but stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).
Last year, he filed defamation proceedings in Australia’s federal court, seeking damages from the Daily Telegraph, which published the allegations, saying his career has been “irreparably damaged” by the articles. Norvill took the stand in the case last month.
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