Crisis talks over Rush accusations
THE Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) held crisis talks on Thursday in the wake of accusations of "inappropriate behaviour" levelled at the organisation's president, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush.
Rush, who has denied the allegations made by a female co-star during the Sydney Theatre Company (STC)'s production of King Lear, was due to open AACTA's prestigious 7th annual awards ceremony on Wednesday.
The AACTA board met on Thursday while executives debated how to proceed.
"They hope it will blow over," a source said.
"But they are really not sure what to do."
Board members include Mark Morrissey, Noni Hazlehurst, Brian Walsh, Margaret Pomeranz and Alan Finney.
Until the allegations were made public on Wednesday by The Daily Telegraph, AACTA planned to open the televised awards night with a prerecorded video featuring Rush and comedian Rebel Wilson.
AACTA declined to comment on whether it intends to proceed with airing the video which reportedly cost thousands to make.
Board members also declined to comment last night.
It also remains unknown whether Rush will walk the red carpet on Wednesday.
Although unrelated to the scandal surrounding Rush, Wilson has also been surrounded by controversy this year after she successfully took magazine giant Bauer media to court for defamation and was awarded millions of dollars in damages.
Former Neighbours star Meyne Wyatt, who starred in the King Lear production with Rush, has taken to social media to confirm he believes his female castmate and has called on Australia's entertainment bodies to stamp out sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour.
And fellow actor Brandon McClelland, who worked alongside the actress who made the complaint against Rush, urged other to believe the complaints: "It wasn't a misunderstanding."
In this statement, released exclusively to News Corp, an agent for former STC artistic director Andrew Upton, stated Upton was unaware of the complaint made against Rush until aired in the media this week.
Upton is married to national treasure Cate Blanchett, who is also an AACTA ambassador and has worked closely with Rush on numerous productions including Elizabeth and Oscar and Lucinda.
The statement read: "Andrew Upton programmed King Lear in 2014 as part of his final season as artistic director of the STC. He and his family moved to the UK shortly after Christmas 2015 so that the children could start school.
"The complaint in regard to Mr. Rush, of which Andrew was unaware, was registered after King Lear had closed in 2016."
In November, AACTA issued a public statement in the wake of various international scandals about its own standards.
"AACTA's aim is to recognise, encourage, promote and celebrate film and television excellence in Australia. We also recognise our role in working with our members in upholding standards in our industry that we can all be proud of, including the provision of a safe and respectful workplace," read the statement.