Geoffrey Rush steps aside from Australian academy role amid allegation of 'inappropriate behaviour'

The Oscar-winning actor has denied the allegation, which was made in a complaint to a theatre company

Geoffrey Rush steps aside from Australian academy role amid allegation of 'inappropriate behaviour'

Geoffrey Rush. Picture by: Sipa USA/SIPA USA/PA Images

Geoffrey Rush has 'stepped aside' as president of Australia's TV & film academy, after a theatre company revealed it had received an allegation of 'inappropriate behaviour' against the actor.

The Oscar-winning actor has denied the allegation, which has come to light following a complaint made to the Sydney Theatre Company.

No further details of the 'inappropriate behaviour' complaint have been revealed, with Australian media reporting that the complainant "did not want Mr Rush notified or involved in any investigation" and was looking for the issue dealt with confidentially.

Mr Rush's decision to step down from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) comes only days before the academy's annual awards.

In a statement, AACTA said: "AACTA acknowledges the decision today of Geoffrey Rush to voluntarily step aside as President of AACTA and accepts and respects his decision to do so.

"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."

Mr Rush (66), meanwhile, has said it is 'unreasonable' that his professional colleagues should be associated with the 'untenable allegations'.

In a statement quoted by ABC News and made through his lawyer, Mr Rush said: "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.

"This decision has not been made lightly. However, in the current climate of innuendo and unjustifiable reporting, I believe the decision to make a clean break to clear the air is the best for all concerned."

Mr Rush's lawyer, meanwhile, said: "Until there is the decency afforded to Mr Rush of what the 'inappropriate behaviour' actually is then there is nothing more that can be said at this stage."

Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for his performance in 1996's Shine, and is also known for his roles in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Quills, Shakespeare in Love and The King's Speech.