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Moran had written his articles as part of an ongoing series about the #Me Too campaign, with pointed references to the sexual impropriety allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey in the US and Don Burke, a well-known TV personality in Australia.“Why are they telling me what Mr Burke has been doing?
He was followed by Bruce Mc Clintock, senior counsel for Geoffrey Rush, and Sue Chrysanthou, also representing Rush, who presented their final submissions last Thursday and Friday.
He insisted that the articles did not imply that the Oscar winning actor was a pervert or sexual predator, or that he had engaged in “sexually inappropriate” behaviour.
Justice Michael Wigney intervened at one point, noting that although the articles contained Rush’s denials, the newspaper’s headlines, photos and puns undermined Blackburn’s claims.
“Did they [Nationwide News and its staff] care about the lives they smear and smash? “There is a serious problem in Australian journalism,” Mc Clintock said. In fact, they probably make what is here even more defamatory” because the reader would assume there was something significant to deny.
“No reader comes to this,” Mc Clintock emphasised, “with a neutral frame of mind.” Rush’s senior counsel made clear that the had, very consciously, placed its allegations against the actor firmly in the context of #Me Too.