MeToo Rush (Geoffrey, That Is)

In the latest salvo from the trenches of MeToo (guaranteed to be followed closely) Actress Yael Stone (“Orange Is The New Black”) has accused fellow Aussie and International Film Star Geoffrey Rush of sexual harassment while both were staring in the play Diary Of A Madman in Sydney in 2010.

Rush, a 1997 Best Actor Oscar winner for Shine, is currently engaged in a libel lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide News, the publisher of the Daily Telegraph, for making “false, perjorative and demeaning claims” in an article about the Oscar-winner’s conduct in a production of King Lear headlined “King Leer”. To defend itself, Nationwide News publicly outed one of the production’s co-stars, Eryn Jean Norvill–forcing her to testify against Rush in court when her complaint had been made to the theater company informally and confidentially.

Ms. Stone, in a recent NY Times interview with Bari Weiss, claims she’s afraid that Rush will sue her, too, given that Australia’s libel laws place the burden on Stone to prove her statements are true—the opposite of libel laws in the US.

Stone claims Rush danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered and sent her erotic text messages—among other offenses–all while the actress was 25 and Mr. Rush was 59. Mr. Rush has denied the charges.  

And yet—this is telling—Stone admits in the same interview to being “…embarrassed by the ways I participated”, acknowledging that she didn’t say no [to the actor] and at times encouraged some of Rush’s behavior, like responding to his admittedly “playfull, clownish” naked dance with a retort along the lines of “…Oh, you’re a very naughty boy.” Stone then elaborates “I didn’t want him to think I was no fun, that I was one of those people who couldn’t take a joke”. According to the interviewer, the play’s director claims he remembers offering to move Ms. Stone to another dressing room but that she declined.

These admissions are significant. Stone admits encouraging and participating in her alleged harassment, most of which happened in the dressing room shared with Rush yet when given a chance to change dressing rooms, she doesn’t take it?

For Yael Stone, it appears that MeToo only applies to her victimhood but not to any responsibility for her part in admittedly encouraging and participating in her alleged harassment. This one-way street has long been a signature component of the MeToo movement and of the radical feminism that gave birth to it.

Perhaps we need to begin a MeTwo movement that encourages both parties in these often complex matters from owning their own responsibility, instead of squaring off as blameless victims and those they accuse—and so condemn—in the media.

Should Stone have had the courage of her convictions and moved dressing rooms at the time of Rush’s alleged harassment, she would have every right to the moral high ground she–at present–lays claim to. As it is, she has accused an accomplished man in the media of career damaging behavior that she herself was complicit in.

As both Rush and Stone are citizens of Australia, in may turn out that Mr. Rush indeed decides to sue Ms. Stone in Australian court for libeling him. Were he to do so, I, for one, would support him fully and completely.

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