Entertainment Celebrity McLachlan manipulated actresses, jury told

McLachlan manipulated actresses, jury told

Craig McLachlan court
A Rocky Horror Show actor says he feared Craig McLachlan could take his life after media reports. Photo: AAP
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Craig McLachlan manipulated actresses, and played them off each other with insults and promises of role changes during and after the 2014 run of The Rocky Horror Show, a jury has heard.

Stepping into the witness box for a fifth day, McLachlan, 56, was questioned about whether he had used insults when referring to particular actresses behind their back during the theatrical production.

“You would disparage one female cast member in speaking to another female cast member,” Mr Hodge said.

“No,” McLachlan replied.

The actor denied describing Erika Haynetz who played Magenta in the production as “s—” and “ruining the show” to another actress Angela Scundi, and said he never referred to a third actress Christie Whelan Browne as “a c— or a bitch” who would never work in theatre again.

Mr Hodge suggested McLachlan had manipulated Whelan Browne into congratulating him for a 2014 Helpmann award win by saying he was privately in her corner during difficulties in the Rocky Horror production.

The actress has said she was disappointed, frustrated and unsupported during that time.

Claims he had supported Whelan Browne were a lie to get her to apologise for not praising him after the win, Mr Hodge suggested.

“You successfully manipulated her into apologising to you,” the barrister said.

“No, I did not, Mr Hodge,” McLachlan replied.

McLachlan contends his friendship with the actress remained solid throughout the show’s run. However, emails he sent to the show’s director Christopher Luscombe revealed he referred to Whelan Browne as “Lucifer” in June 2014 and as a “horror” in August that year.

The award-winning performer agreed that he had brought sexual jokes and pranks to the Rocky Horror Show, including deep-throating bananas, masturbating crew members’ arms, kissing and grabbing them, and using the nickname “gobbler” for others in the show.

“You would peel a banana and shape it in some way so it looked like a penis and then deep-throat it,” Mr Hodge said.

“Well the banana’s already the appropriate shape, but yes,” the actor replied.

He admitted he sent Whelan Browne videos of himself fully clothed pretending to masturbate as well as clips where he pretended to orgasm in a toilet.

McLachlan alleges Whelan Browne was herself “a notoriously foul-mouthed person” who was interested in “deviant sexual acts”. He has claimed she was dishonest for saying to the media that she was offended by his conduct.

The actor is suing the ABC, Fairfax and Whelan Browne for defamation over publications in January 2018 relating to claims of misconduct during the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show and other productions.

The hearing continues.