"Orange is the New Black" actress Yael Stone is accusing her former colleague and mentor Geoffrey Rush of sexual misconduct. Reports about Rush behaving inappropriately during his work at the Sydney Theatre Company; later, the accuser in that instance was revealed as Eryn Jean Norvill, .
Stone said in a New York Times interview that she initially "swore I would never come forward. My intention was to keep it private." The actress said that she saw Rush, a fellow Australian, as a mentor; he even wrote a letter on her behalf when she applied for a visa to work in the U.S. The two acted together onstage in "Diary of a Madman" in 2010 and 2011 in both Sydney and New York.
Stone said Rush's inappropriate behavior toward her began when he started sending her flirtatious texts at all hours of the night, but the actress admits that at first she flirted back, "enthusiastically and willingly."
"I was so flattered that someone like that would spend their time texting me into the very early hours of the morning," she told The Times. "Gradually the text messages became more sexual in nature, but always encased in this very highfalutin intellectual language." The actress added, "I'm embarrassed by the ways I participated. I certainly wouldn't engage as the person I am now in the way I did when I was 25." Stone is now 33.
Stone said that Rush began making bizarre personal requests, like asking her to remove his contact lenses or take off his sweaty costume during the play's intermission. She also said that when she napped between matinee and evening performances under her makeup desk, he would join her unsolicited.
The most serious accusation Stone lobs is that Rush once held a mirror over her shower and watched her naked. Stone explained that there were two shower cubicles next to each other and said, "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. 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." Another person involved in the show told The Times that they remembered the incident.
Stone said she did not consider reporting his behavior at the time. "There was no part of my brain considering speaking to anyone in any official capacity. This was a huge star," she said. "What were they going to do? Fire Geoffrey and keep me?"
She also said that Rush once danced naked in front of her while she was taking off her makeup, and she laughed it off.
Stone said that Rush's alleged behavior caused her distress. "My level of anxiety was very high," she said.
She said that after Rush filed a defamation suit against Nationwide News, which broke the story last year about the previous allegations against Rush, she confronted him privately over email. Rush, she said, never responded.
In a statement to The New York Times, Rush said that some of Stone's accusations "are incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context." But he also said, "clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work. I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress. This, most certainly, has never been my intention."