“Orange Is the New Black” star Yael Stone has come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against veteran actor Geoffrey Rush.
In a story published by the New York Times Sunday, Stone, who plays Lorna Morello on the Netflix comedy, detailed incidents between her and Rush she says occurred when they co-starred in a production of “Diary of a Madman” eight years ago. She was 25 years old at the time and Rush was 59.
Stone’s claims that Rush sent her inappropriate text messages, tried to watch her shower, and exposed his penis to her while working on the show, come months after Rush sued an Australian tabloid for defamation over sexual misconduct claims made by an unidentified “King Lear” co-star, who was later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill.
In a statement first given to the Times and then obtained by TheWrap, Rush said “the allegations of inappropriate behavior made by Yael Stone are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context.”
“However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work,” he continued. “I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention. When we performed in The Diary Of A Madman 8 years ago, I believe we engaged in a journey as artistic comrades. Over the years we have shared correspondence that always contained a mutual respect and admiration. As I have said in the past, I abhor any behavior that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.”
In the article published Sunday, Stone told Times’ Bari Weiss that though she knows “truth” is on her side, “there’s an element of terror” in her communication about the topic. The actress says she’s conflicted about how she “enthusiastically and willingly” bantered back in response to Rush’s texts.
“I was so flattered that someone like that would spend their time texting me into the very early hours of the morning,” she said. “Gradually the text messages became more sexual in nature, but always encased in this very highfalutin intellectual language.”
“I’m embarrassed by the ways I participated,” Stone told the Times. “I certainly wouldn’t engage as the person I am now in the way I did when I was 25.”
Stone also detailed “strange intimacies in the dressing room” between her and Rush, where she says he would ask her to take out his contact lenses or remove his costume at intermission and that he would join her, uninvited, when she napped between matinee and evening performances.
The actress says one time Rush used a small mirror held over a shower cubicle to view her naked. “I said some words to the effect of, ‘Bugger off, Geoffrey.’ I was walking a very delicate line where I needed to manage these uncomfortable moments but never, never offend him.”
And when she says he exposed himself to her and danced around naked in a “playful, clownish manner,” she told the Times 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,” Stone said.
Stone told the Times, “There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity. This was a huge star. What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?”
Stone told the Times she sent Rush an email last December to address the incidents that occurred during production of “Diary of a Madman,” writing: “In the name of years of friendship I wanted to share with you what I have always been afraid to say. I hope it’s possible for you to receive this in the spirit that it is meant. With a view toward healing.”
Stone says Rush never responded to her, telling the Times: “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. I despair that I am now in this situation.”
“The current system is built around the very famous and talented such that there is a lot of yes,” Stone added. “There is not a lot of no. And that can encourage certain behaviors and that can happen incrementally over time to the point where a person may have not heard the word no in a long time. And it might not be their fault. We need compassion for that confusion.”
Rush began fighting his defamation case earlier last year, with the judge expected to hand down a decision in 2019. Because in Australia the burden is on the publisher to prove accusations are true — rather than on a plaintiff to prove they are false — Stone told the Times she would not have come forward with her accusations if a law firm had not agreed to represent her pro bono, should Rush sue for defamation. However, she will still be personally responsible for damages, should he win.
A representative for Stone did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for any additional comment.
13 DECEMBER 2000 - GEOFFREY RUSH - AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF INNOCENCE AT THE DENDY OPERA QUAYS - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Geoffrey Rush (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Geoffrey Rush (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Actor Geoffrey Rush attends 53rd Annual Writers Guild of America Awards on March 4, 2001 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Geoffrey Rush File Photo: March 2001 (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Geoffrey Rush arrives at the premiere of 'Blow.' (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Geoffrey Rush during Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Geoffrey Rush & Hilary Swank during Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Geoffrey Rush during 'Frida' Premiere - Los Angeles at Los Angleles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: Australian actor Geoffrey Rush with his award for global achievement at the 45th AFI awards held at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. (Photo by Regis Martin/Getty Images).
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: Geoffrey Rush at a press conference about Australian culture confirmed as bargaining chip in free trade agreement with the USA. At the Hyatt hotel on Collins Street in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. (Photo by Regis Martin/Getty Images).
Geoffrey Rush during 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers' New York City Premiere - Arrivals at Loews Tower East Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
John Lithgow and Geoffrey Rush during 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers' New York City Premiere - Arrivals at Loews Tower East Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
Geoffrey Rush at the Loews Tower East Theater in New York City, New York (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: (L-R) Actors Melissa George, Geoffrey Rush and Rachel Griffiths arrives at the L'Oreal Paris 2005 AFI Awards at Central City Studios on November 26, 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by David Teuma/Getty Images)
Geoffrey Rush during 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room at The Shrine in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Geoffrey Rush (C) and his mother (L) attend the after show party following the L'Oreal Paris 2006 AFI Awards at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on December 7, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. The awards are the premier event on the Australian Screen Industry calendar, and are the Australian Film and Television Industry's oldest and most prestigious awards, now in their 48th year. (Photo by Simon Fergusson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Actor Geoffrey Rush poses in the awards room at the L'Oreal Paris AFI 2006 Industry Awards at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on December 6, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. Tonight's Industry Awards precede tomorrow's AFI Awards 2006, with both nights honouring the achievements of the nominees across Australian film and television. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)
Geoffrey Rush attends the Sydney premiere for 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' at the Hayden Orpheum Cremorne on November 3, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Geoffrey Rush arriving for the 2010 National Movie Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, London. (Photo by Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Meredith Vieira and Geoffrey Rush appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Geoffrey Rush with the crown he wore for his role as King Berenger in Exit The King. Rush has donated his costumes from the theatre productions of The Diary of a Madman and Exit the King to the Performing Arts Collection at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. 20 September 2011. (Photo by Paul Rovere/The AGE/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) shakes hands with actor Geoffrey Rush (2nd L) at a lunch hosted by Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce (2nd R) at Government House in Canberra on October 23, 2011. The queen is in Australia for her 16th visit to the former penal colony on what will perhaps be the 85-year-old monarch's last tour Down Under. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN (Photo credit should read Alex Ellinghausen/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Actor Geoffrey Rush attends 'The Eye Of The Storm' New York Premiere at MOMA on September 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Actor Geoffrey Rush attends TheWrap's Awards & Foreign Screening Series 'The Book Thief' at the Landmark Theater on December 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Buchan/Getty Images For TheWrap)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 09: Geoffrey Rush addresses the media at Hangar 416, Sydney Jetbase, Sydney Airport on December 9, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 09: Geoffrey Rush leaves the Federal Court on November 9, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The three-week trial concluded today, with Justice Michael Wigney to deliver his verdict early next year. Geoffrey Rush is suing The Daily Telegraph for defamation over a series of articles that were published in late November and early December 2017 that alleged he behaved inappropriate during a 2015 stage production of King Lear. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)