ENTERTAINMENT

Geoffrey Rush Steps Down From Australian Film Academy Following Claim Of 'Inappropriate Behavior'

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star served as the group's president.

12/02/2017 13:33 EST | Updated 12/02/2017 18:47 EST

Geoffrey Rush has stepped down from his position as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts after a claim of “inappropriate behavior” by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor surfaced this week, The Associated Press and Australian media reported Saturday.

Rush announced his decision after Australia’s ABC News stated the Sydney Theatre Company “received a complaint alleging that Mr. Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behavior” during his time with the company. 

The 66-year-old Oscar winner starred in a production of “King Lear” at the theater in 2015 and 2016. Although further details about the complaint have not been made public, the actor has pushed back against allegations of any past misbehavior

“Certain recent media reports have made untenable allegations concerning my standing in the entertainment community,” Rush said in a statement provided to the AP. “It is unreasonable that my professional colleagues should be somehow associated with such allegations.”

“In the circumstances, I have decided to step aside in my ambassadorial role as president of AACTA effective immediately and until these issues have been resolved,” he stated.

HuffPost reached out to Rush’s representative but did not immediately receive a response.

The AACTA, which puts on Australia’s version of the Oscars, said in a statement that it accepted Rush’s decision to step down.

“We have been deeply concerned about the situation and support a course of action that both respects Geoffrey’s rights to the presumption of innocence and due process, but also acknowledges good corporate governance in these circumstances,” the group said.

Rush’s move comes after dozens of women have spoken up about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry, resulting in professional consequences for men including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.

The academy is set to hold its annual film, television and documentary awards ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

This article has been updated with a fuller version of the AACTA’s statement.

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