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Geoffrey Rush wins largest-ever Australia defamation payout

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Sydney (AFP)

Hollywood star Geoffrey Rush won an Australian record multi-million-dollar payout Thursday after a court found that a Sydney newspaper defamed him.

Local media reported the Oscar-winning actor has been awarded almost US$2 million for lost earnings and compensation, after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour toward female cast members.

In a front-page article published in 2017, the Daily Telegraph wrote that the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint that Rush had inappropriately touched a female co-star during a staging of "King Lear".

A Sydney judge had described the content as a "recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism."

The paper, owned by Rupert Murdoch, had appealed the initial ruling that set part of the compensation.

Australia's defamation laws are notoriously strict.

The Age newspaper said the sum was the largest ever paid to an individual in the country.

Rush won the Best Actor Academy Award in 1997 for his role in "Shine" and is one of the few stars to have also won a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Tony Award.

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