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Neighbours Now Craig McLachlan has been accused of sexual misconduct

Discussion in 'Australian & New Zealand Soaps' started by Mel O'Drama, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Australian actor Craig McLachlan has denied allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by three women.

    The accusations against McLachlan, 52, concern his time performing in a 2014 production of the Rocky Horror Show.

    Three cast members accused the former Neighbours actor of inappropriate touching and harassment.

    McLachlan stepped down from the Rocky Horror Show's current Australian run on Monday, but rejected the allegations as "entirely false".

    "Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety," he wrote in response to allegations published by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

    The actresses, Christie Whelan Browne, Erika Heynatz and Angela Scundi, said they had come forward to protect other cast members. McLachlan had been reprising his role as Dr Frank N. Furter in Adelaide.

    The allegations, also published by Fairfax Media on Monday, include that McLachlan pulled aside Whelan Browne's underwear during a performance and kissed her buttock.

    "I think people who know him know that he's very generous, warm, funny... I saw a very different side come out in him which was terrifying," she told the ABC.

    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 reports said.

    Police told the BBC they were "investigating allegations of sexual offences dating back to 2014", but would not give further details.

    In a statement on Monday, the musical's production company said it was "shocked" to learn of the accusations.

    "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," Gordon Frost Organisation said in a statement.

    It said it would co-operate with authorities and conduct and internal investigation.

    McLachlan is a veteran of the Australian entertainment industry, having won Australia's top television award - the Gold Logie - and starred in programmes including Home and Away and the Doctor Blake Mysteries.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-42599626
     
  2. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A THEATRE star has claimed she had to “wriggle away” as Craig McLachlan inappropriately touched and kissed her on stage, as more accusers made complaints to police over the Gold Logie winner’s alleged behaviour.

    Christie Whelan Browne told ABC’s 7.30 she had to “go into the theatre with armour on” while starring alongside McLachlan in a 2014 Melbourne production of The Rocky Horror Show.

    “He was directed to kiss down my neck, down my arm and 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,” she said.

    Whelan Brown and two other former co-stars have made a series of claims against McLachlan, who previously starred in top soaps Home and Away, Neighbours and on ABC drama The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

    He has strenuously denied each accusation and threatened legal action. Denying the women’s claims over his behaviour during the touring musical, McLachlan described the show as “a confrontational musical oozing with sexuality” and that as a result “actors have to perform certain actions”.

    Another actress, Erika Heynatz, said McLachlan confronted her in her dressing room one day.

    “He took me by the face and kissed me. And I was completely taken aback by it. So I was just kind of frozen. And shaky. It really unsettled me. It unnerved me. It undermined my confidence,” she told 7.30.

    Heynatz said she had become so distressed by McLachlan’s visits to her dressing room she discussed the situation with a crew member, who would come and sit with her while she was preparing for a show.

    A third accuser, Angela Scundi, said she told a director she didn’t want to perform an unscripted kiss with McLachlan that he often improvised with the principal actress for which Scundi was an understudy. Scundi said she was assured she didn’t have to.


    “The second night I went on, I ran in, hugged. He grabbed me and kissed me. But I couldn’t do anything. That’s what I felt. I was caught completely off guard because the night before he hadn’t done that. And so I thought I was safe,” she said.

    She said she confronted him, calling him a “cheeky b***ard”, but the stage and screen star turned on her.

    “He turned around and he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t you kiss me. Don’t you do that ever again.’”

    She continued: “And he turned and, like, I don’t feel fear at that level, but I haven’t felt that terrified ever in my life or ever again.”

    Victoria Police confirmed on Monday complaints had been received concerning McLachlan’s behaviour. At least two more women have contacted police about the actor’s behaviour since allegations were published by Fairfax and ABC on Monday, Fairfax reports.

    The popular actor said in an email to Fairfax Media the claims were “baseless” and “they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety”.

    “These allegations are ALL made up,” he said.

    The theatre company behind The Rocky Horror Show, The Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO), yesterday confirmed McLachlan would be stood down from his role in the current production of the show.

    “We take these allegations very seriously, and have always endeavoured to prioritise a safe working environment,” the statement read.

    “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 co-operate fully with authorities.”

    GFO said it was not aware of allegations before they were aired in media reports.

    Production of The Doctor Blake Mysteries has also been put on hold “to allow due process”, production company December Media announced Monday.


    http://www.news.com.au/entertainmen...d/news-story/dd4ff71a5f699e55b3445bdf5a19a586
     
  3. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I'm not getting into the he said/she said simply because I was not a witness. What really worries me is the mentality of people running to the media to tell their (version) of events. It's trial by media and that leads us down a very dangerous path - of no return. Everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence unless found otherwise by a Judge or Jury.
     
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  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely spot-on, Rove. Regardless of who is telling the truth here, someone is being exploited.

    I started to watch one of the videos and it shows a woman giving graphic details of what she is accusing him of with tears streaming down her cheeks. It seemed entirely inappropriate to discuss this stuff in such a public way. If it went to trial they'd struggle to find a jury who haven't got that image in their consciousness. So there's bias in place before it begins. Even if what the accusers are saying is true (and who am I to say) it's being tackled in entirely the wrong way.

    What bothers me is the instant effect it's had on the career of someone who in the eyes of the law is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. He's out of the stage show and his series has been put on hold. It's wrong that anyone should have that much power to publicly destroy someone else.

    It's quite unthinkable that western culture would allow a group of men to destroy a woman's career overnight in this way, no matter what she was said to have done to them. And that's as it should be.
     
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    You're right, of course. I guess it's a case of the pendulum swinging away from the assumption that "she must have been asking for it" to "he must be guilty" -- which in itself is a huge shift and -- from wider perspective -- arguably a positive one. The downside, of course, is that any innocent men caught in the crossfire become collateral damage, which is tragic -- but maybe that's the only way things change. Until the pendulum stops swinging in either direction, who can say for sure?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  6. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to say Im finding all these people coming of of the woodwork to make claims a bit suspect, and i agree with the above posters - Innocent until proven guilty, men are named and shamed and we dont know if its true or not. Meanwhile women who lie or deceive to tell tales like this get off Scot free and their names stay out of the press

    I have to say I met Craig McLachlan backstage twice at White Christmas as I went to see it X 3 over a 2 year period as it featured Ken kercheval, I have never watched Neighbours and dont really know him (if that makes sense) but he was so nice, posed for photos, signed programme and chatted away for 10 mins before going in to get ready for his performance. (Ken K rocked up much later lol) I was very impressed with him and thought he was a nice guy.

    I have no idea re what these women say is true or not, but like actors accused on Corrie and later found to be Innocent of the charges, mud sticks and people will look at him with an element of doubt or scrutiny and I think that is a shame if he is innocent.

    Im always very doubtful re people who run to the media and sell their story! (and for a fee) I wonder if some just jump on the "me too" bandwagon -

    Totally agree

    Wait for her story to be published in the Sunday Mirror or People et al
     
  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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