He’s one of Australia’s most-loved actors but an exclusive investigation by the ABC and Fairfax has accused Craig McLachlan of sexual assault and harassment.
The star, who has appeared in an array of popular TV programs and theatre productions, is being accused of assault by three women. ABC reports that the women were working with McLachlan during the hit Rocky Horror Picture Show musical in 2014 when the assaults allegedly took place.
The report alleges he indecently assaulted the women, sexual harassed them, intimidated and bullied the women. While he starred as Dr Frank-N-Furter in the play, the women claim that he took advantage of his saucy role on stage and behind the scenes.
Two of the women raised their concerns with senior production staff at the time of the alleged incidents, but claim that nothing was done.
The 52-year-old is being accused of a number of assaults including kissing the buttocks of one star on stage, kissing a woman without her permission and even reaching up an actress’s skirt. It is also reported that he bullied other cast members.
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ABC states the women have hired a lawyer to investigate their allegations, while two of the victims have also filed reports with the Victorian Police.
Despite the claims, McLachlan has maintained his innocence. He told the ABC via email: “Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety. In either event, they are to the best of my knowledge utterly and entirely false.” It is also believed that the former Neighbours and Home and Away star has spoken to some members of the production team who can’t recall any behaviour the women are alleging.
Despite his claims the women could be coming forward for financial reasons, ABC reports they are not seeking money and they want members of the current production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to be safe.
They say they have seen emails, doctor’s referrals and text messages that support the women’s claims. Their reports have also been backed by other members of the show at the time.
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One of the victims recalled being assaulted on stage during the musical, suggesting that McLachlan also made lewd comments. He denied the claims, noting that the musical is confrontational. “As such, as part of the musical the actors have to perform certain actions, all of which follow from the show itself — and indeed ‘make’ the show,” he said.
He added that he’d performed hundreds of shows with the women who have come forward and said they never raised an issue with him directly and claimed that some of his actions were “part of the show, coordinated with director and cast”.
The second victim stated that she was assaulted off stage, while the third said she McLachlan pressed himself against her during a rehearsal.
Do you think we’ll see further accusations against other Aussie stars in the coming months?