‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Yael Stone Accuses Geoffrey Rush Of Sexual Misconduct

Yael Stone alleged Geoffrey Rush, her castmate in the 2010 play "Diary Of A Mad Man," danced naked in front of her in their shared dressing room.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Actress Yael Stone alleged in a recently published interview that actor Geoffrey Rush repeatedly behaved inappropriately toward her when they acted together nearly 10 years ago.

In a piece for The New York Times published on Monday, the 33-year-old “Orange Is The New Black” star detailed her allegations, claiming that Rush sent her sexual text messages, used a mirror to watch her shower, and even danced nude in front of her when they worked together during a theater production of “The Diary of a Madman” in 2010 and 2011.

The misconduct began when Rush, then 59, began sending Stone, who was 25 years old at the time, text messages that grew increasingly sexual, she said. At the time, she “enthusiastically and willingly” responded to Rush’s messages, and her participation later became a source of embarrassment for her, she said.

“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.”

What came next were “strange intimacies in the dressing room,” Stone said. Rush began to, on occasion, ask her for help removing his contact lenses or costume, and when he would find her taking a nap in between performances, he’d take it upon himself to join her, she said. From there, his behavior escalated, with Rush at one point spying on her in the shower.

“I remember I looked up to see there was a small shaving mirror over the top of the partition between the showers and he was using it to look down at my naked body,” she told The Times. “I believe that it was meant with a playful intention, but the effect was that I felt there was nowhere for me to feel safe and unobserved.”

On one occasion while she was removing her makeup in their shared dressing room, Rush danced in front of her in a “playful, clownish manner” while completely nude, Stone recalled. She reacted to the incident 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 said.

Rush’s inappropriate behavior grew physical at an awards show some time later, when he touched Stone’s back “in a very sensual manner” that she called “unwanted and sustained.” He sent her a written apology the next day, calling what happened “uncalled-for but had to,” Stone said.

Rush said in a statement to The Times that Stone’s allegations “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,” his statement 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,” he wrote. “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 behaviour that might be considered as harassment or intimidation to anyone – whether in the workplace or any other environment.”

Stone kept her experiences private in an effort to avoid battling defamation laws in her native Australia, The Times reports.

Stone’s story comes one year after the allegations Australian actress Eryn Jean Norvill levied against Rush became a matter of public record after The Daily Telegraph published articles detailing her accusations. Rush sued the outlet’s publisher, Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide News, for defamation and, in the process, Norvill’s name was attached to her previously anonymous complaints.

Norvill said in court in October that Rush “deliberately” touched her breast onstage during a 2015 production of “King Lear” and once called her “yummy,” The Guardian reports. Rush previously accused The Daily Telegraph of publishing “hyperbole, lies and the spurious claims” and called Norvill's claims “all untrue,” according to the outlet.

[Photos: Getty Images]

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