Entertainment Stage ‘He pulled my underwear to the side’: Actresses accuse Craig McLachlan of sexual assault

‘He pulled my underwear to the side’: Actresses accuse Craig McLachlan of sexual assault

Christie Whelan Browne and Craig McLachlan
Christie Whelan Browne, left, and Craig McLachlan, right, on stage in Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Facebook
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Three women have revealed graphic details of the alleged sexual misconduct of Craig McLachlan, both on and off the stage of the Rocky Horror Show.

Police are investigating claims the former Neighbours actor assaulted actresses Christie Whelan Browne, Erika Heynatz and Angela Scundi during the musical’s run in 2014.

Whelan Browne alleged 52-year-old McLachlan pulled aside her underwear during a show and kissed her buttock.

“I had to be on stage with him in a bed, an upright bed, and I was wearing just bra, undies and garter and … he was pretending to go down on me, that was the scene,” she told the ABC.

“But he was directed to kiss down my neck, down my arm and then go down, out of sight. But he would always kiss down my breasts and continue to kiss all the way down until I would have to sort of move and wriggle away.

“I had to turn facing away from him and one night he pulled my underpants to the side so that my right butt cheek was out and he was kissing all around it.”

McLachlan, who stood down from the Rocky Horrow Show’s current run on Monday in light of the accusations, has rejected the accounts as “entirely false”.

“Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety,” McLachlan said in a statement.

Whelan Browne said McLachlan also made lewd, inappropriate comments about her body.

“As the tour went on he would say he could see my vagina through my white underpants, that was my costume,” she said.

“And he said that he could see the slit of my vagina and that he could smell it and it smells sweet and he would talk about this a lot.

“And then one night when he was down in the bed, he traced the outline of it … he traced the outline of my vagina with his finger and I slapped his hand away.”

Christie Whelan Browne and Erika Heynatz
Christie Whelan Browne (left) says she was sexually harassed by Craig McLachlan (right). Photo: Facebook

Heynatz, who played Magenta, said she was forcibly kissed by the actor, while Scundi, a chorus member, said she was the subject of unwanted sexual advances.

Two actresses raised concerns with the show’s senior producers but no action was taken, the joint ABC/Fairfax report said.

Heynatz said McLachlan made an inappropriate advance towards her in the green room when the show was playing in Melbourne.

“I was sitting downstairs in the green room on the couch, facing the kitchen, and he walked down the stairs, through the kitchen and straddled me on the couch, knee either side, and started kissing my neck, and then and then leant back and said, ‘Too much?’ And I said, ‘Yes’.

Erika Heynatz and Crag McLachlan in Rocky Horror
Erika Heynatz and Crag McLachlan on stage in Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Facebook

“And he climbed off and just walked away. There were other people around. That’s not normal workplace behaviour, that’s not OK.”

McLachlan said he has no recollection of such an event.

Scundi claimed McLachlan gave her an unwanted kiss on stage and then turned on her when she confronted him about it.

“I said, ‘Don’t you kiss me. Don’t you do that ever again’ and he turned. I haven’t felt that terrified ever in my life, or ever again.

“In that moment, when he turned around … he got in my face, and the show was still going so it was quiet, and he had his finger in my face … I was terrified.”

The makers of Channel Seven’sThe Doctor Blake Mysteries, which stars McLachlan, have temporarily suspended production while police investigate the allegations.

In a statement, the program’s production company December Media said it was “confident … there have been no incidents involving any member of cast or crew, acting in any way inappropriately towards other cast or crew”.

The company said McLachlan was “central” to the show’s success and that it was not appropriate for it to comment on allegations related to the Rocky Horror Show.

-with ABC

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