Entertainment Stage Craig McLachlan faces fresh misconduct allegations

Craig McLachlan faces fresh misconduct allegations

Craig McLachlan as Frank-N-Furter
Craig McLachlan in the Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Facebook
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At least two more people have reportedly contacted police over the behaviour of award-winning actor Craig McLachlan after reports of alleged sexual misconduct emerged this week.

The fresh allegations were first reported by Fairfax Media on Tuesday and come as Victoria Police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of indecent assault and inappropriate behaviour involving McLachlan,

The ABC reported it spoke to two former crew members, one woman and one man, who went to police on Monday.

The Gold Logie-winner has withdrawn from the current staging of the Rocky Horror Show in Adelaide after being accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour during the 2014 production of the show.

Production of the 53-year-old McLachlan’s popular television series, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, has also been put on hold amid the sensational claims.

Rocky Horror Show producers, the Gordon Frost Organisation, say they have spoken with McLachlan and have agreed that it is not appropriate for him to continue in the current production.

“We will be conducting a full internal investigation and will co-operate fully with authorities,” GFO said in a statement.

Three cast members from a 2014 performance of the hit musical told a Fairfax Media/ABC investigation that McLachlan inappropriately touched them or exposed himself.

GFO said it was shocked to learn of the allegations against McLachlan and took them very seriously.

“While we clearly cannot comment on the details of this particular case, sexual assault in any form is unacceptable, and we will work diligently within this industry to support the right of all people to be protected in the workplace, and stand by those who are victims of inappropriate behaviour,” it said.

McLachlan has described the allegations by actresses Erika Heynatz, Christie Whelan Browne and Angela Scundi as “baseless”.

“They seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety,” he was quoted as writing.

“These allegations are ALL made up.”

The Seven Network bought the rights to the The Doctor Blake Mysteries last year after the ABC axed the show in March despite strong ratings.

A sixth series of the show was set to debut on Seven this year.

In a statement, Seven said: “The Doctor Blake Mysteries, [is] produced by December Media and is in early pre-production funded by Seven and other parties. Seven has sought an urgent update from the producers.”

An ABC spokesperson told Fairfax there had been “no complaints made to the ABC involving any members of the Doctor Blake cast, who are employed by December Media”.

Some Adelaide Rocky Horror Show fans have demanded their money back after McLachlan left the production.

McLachlan is expected to be replaced in Tuesday night’s show by his understudy Adam Rennie.

“Big mistake to take Craig McLachlan out. My seat will now be empty. Only wanted to see the show again because of Craig,” one theatregoer wrote on the show’s official Facebook page.

“I would like my money back I purchased seven tickets, not interested without Craig,” another said.

McLachlan is the latest high-profile man in the entertainment and media industry to be accused following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US.

Whelan Browne also appeared in the Channel Ten program The Wrong Girlalongside McLachlan in 2016 and 2017.

She told the ABC she was dismayed when she learned he had been cast but felt she had to continue to have a civil relationship with him for the sake of her career.

She said his behaviour towards her on that program was appropriate.

But she said that during Rocky Horror in 2014, McLachlan, who played transvestite Frank N Furter to her character Janet, he indecently assaulted her on stage during a sex scene.

Scundi said McLachlan kissed her passionately onstage even after she had asked that it not be done.

She said when she confronted him about the unwanted kiss, he abused and threatened her.

“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,” she told the ABC.

“He was just a different person. He said, ‘You are nothing. Don’t you dare talk to me like that. I will end you’. And in that moment, I believed him.”

GFO said it was not aware of any details of the allegations until they were published in the media, although it received correspondence from a law firm before Christmas.

“We can also confirm that our records show the claimants at no time made any complaint – formal or informal – to the company manager or executive producer of The Rocky Horror Show in 2014,” the company said.

“Furthermore no one at GFO recalls any verbal discussion of this nature. It would be distressing to us if anyone within our company was dismissive of sexual assault allegations, and this will form a part of our internal investigation.”

GFO said McLachlan’s withdrawal would not affect the current production of the Rocky Horror Show which is scheduled to run in Adelaide until Sunday and then move to Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne.

– With agencies