(CNN)Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has won more than $600,000 and could receive millions more, after successfully arguing that an Australian tabloid newspaper defamed him with a #MeToo story.
Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush wins #MeToo defamation case
Justice Michael Wigney ruled in a federal court in Sydney on Thursday that Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper had been "extravagant and reckless" in reporting that Rush abused a co-star during a 2015 stage production of "King Lear."
"This was a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind," Wigney said of two articles published about Rush in 2017.
Rush is famed for his roles in movie franchises including "Pirates of the Caribbean" and in award-winning films such as "The King's Speech." He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1997 for his portrayal of David Helfgott in "Shine."
The actor could be awarded a much larger sum in a follow-up hearing on May 10, after the judge ruled that the Daily Telegraph's reporting caused Rush financial loss which would continue into the future.
Rush argued he may have lost more than $3.5 million in earnings between the time of publication and the beginning of the defamation trial.
The 2017 article reported that Rush had inappropriately touched his co-star's breasts and back, followed her into a bathroom and sent her an inappropriate text message. Rush denies all allegations.