Leading Australian stage and TV actor Craig McLachlan has been accused of sexual harassment ranging from indecent assault to bullying. The star of “Doctor Blake Mysteries,” “Neighbours,” and “Home and Away” denies the allegations.
The accusations emerged from a journalistic investigation carried out by Fairfax Media and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald on Monday published a report on McLachlan describing a colorful, laddish public persona that disguised a predator who repeatedly manipulated his star billing for sexual gratification.
Female colleagues on “The Rocky Horror Show” in 2014 have made complaints. Two, Erika Heynatz and Angela Scundi, have taken their complaints to the police in Victoria state.
McLachlan was due to have started a touring season, starting in Adelaide, with the 2018 version of the show. But he is no longer involved according to a statement from show producer the Gordon Frost Organisation.
“The Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO) was shocked to learn of allegations against Craig McLachlan while he was involved in the Rocky Horror Show in 2014. We take these allegations very seriously, and have always endeavored to prioritize a safe working environment,” the company said in its statement.
“In response, we have spoken to Craig and have mutually agreed that it is not appropriate for him to continue in the current production of the show. We will be conducting a full internal investigation and will cooperate fully with authorities.”
McLachlan is accused of pressing against co-stars on stage, exposing himself, touching their genitals and groping their breasts. Actresses allege that he invited them into his dressing room, where he stripped naked, and also that he made inappropriate visits to women’s changing rooms.
Christie Whelan Browne alleges that, during a performance of the 2014 show, McLachlan pulled aside her underwear and kissed her buttocks.
In response to the accusations, the paper carried McLachlan’s strong denials. “These allegations are all made up,” he said in an emailed response. “They seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety.”
Scundi said that she complained at the time to the stage managers at Gordon Frost Organisation. Heynatz told a stage manager that McLachlan’s alleged groping and off-script behavior amounted to an on-set safety issue. Only after the eruption of the Harvey Weinstein scandal have Australian women felt comfortable going public with their alleged experiences. Before Christmas, the women went to their union, lawyers and police.