Actor resigns as head of TV, film academy

Actor resigns as head of TV, film academy

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — 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 last week said the allegation dated from Rush's starring role in the 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.

"In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTAeffective 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."

AACTA said in a statement it accepted and respected Rush's decision to voluntarily step aside.

The Sydney Theatre Company has not disclosed details of the allegation. It said the complainant requested that the allegation be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Rush notified or involved in any investigation.

Rush has performed at the Sydney theater for 35 years. The 66-year-old Australian actor won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for "Shine," has three other Oscar nominations and is best known as Captain Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

In related news:

NEW YORK — New York's Metropolitan Opera on Sunday said it was suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season," the Met said in a statement.

The Met also said it has appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former U.S. attorney, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

The move to suspend Levine came a day after the New York Post first reported that one of Levine's accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teen. Met officials said they were launching an investigation. Then on Sunday, The New York Times reported similar accounts from two other men accusing Levine, now 74, of sexual misconduct.

 

Topics (3):Film, Music, People

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