Sports

Craig McLachlan blasts reports of ‘fresh’ allegations against him

Australian Actor Craig McLachlan has lashed out at the ABC and Nine Newspapers for airing what he describes as false and deceptive claims that fresh sexual harassment and bullying accusations against him had emerged.Last year McLachlan was found not guilty after being accused of indecently assaulting four female co-stars in a 2014 musical production of the Rocky Horror Show.
He was acquitted of seven counts of indecent assault and six counts of common law assault.
The actor is now suing Nine Newspapers and ABC for defamation, alleging he was defamed by reporting that falsely suggested he was guilty of sexual crimes.
Now McLachlan has hit back at reports published by ABC and Nine Newspapers on May 15 which claimed “fresh” allegations of sexual harassment and bullying had been revealed in a court document released by the NSW Supreme Court.
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The article by the ABC reported the court document included“fresh claims by actresses Tamzen Hayes and Anna Samson, who played opposite Mr McLachlan in The Doctor Blake Mysteries, and Teagan Wouters, who played Janet in The Rocky Horror Show”.
The media outlet claimed the document also alleged that McLachlan “bullied and intimidated actor Tim Maddren, who played the role of Brad in The Rocky Horror Show”.
McLachlan blasted these reports as “false” accusing the two media outlets of having a “malicious motive”.
In a statement released on Saturday morning, the actor claimed the court document referred to in the reports is a historical document, revealing it was the Amended Defence to his defamation claim filed in December 2018.
He said that both Nine and the ABC already had this document available, claiming Nine publicised it in December 2018.
“The so called ‘fresh’ allegations were again published on 15 May 2021, with the deceptive and sensationalised claim that they had just been revealed,” McLachlan said in a statement.
“The ABC and Nine were aware that the Seven Network intended to broadcast a TV documentary special the following night which would give me the first public opportunity to tell my side of the story following my full acquittal of the 13 assault charges.”
“The evidence which emerged during court including the dismissed assault charges substantially proves the so called ‘fresh’ allegations are false.”
McLachlan confirmed he is continuing his defamation proceedings against both the ABC and Nine Newspapers.
“The malicious motive of the ABC and Nine in republishing false allegations two-and-a-half years old was to undermine any benefit I might have received from telling my story on the Channel 7 program,” he said.
McLachlan’s interview with Channel 7 sparked blacklash from viewers, both before the show aired and during.
One Twitter user criticised Channel 7’s promo for the show, tweeting: “I’m not easily taken aback but I couldn’t believe what I saw last night.
“It wasn’t even the Craig McLachlan story; they were saying things with disdain like, ‘In the age of #metoo.’”
Others urged people not to even watch the 90-minute special.
“Do something else on Sunday night. Get together with friends. Cook a great meal. Watch a movie,” ABC presenter Julia Zemiro tweeted.
Actress Virginia Gay suggested instead of watching the program people “got out. See a show. Have a pub meal. Listen to women”.
In the interview McLachlan claimed was made to look like “some dirty paedophile”, contemplated suicide and blames journalists for scheming to make him look bad.
He and his partner, Vanessa Scammell, claimed that the female accusers were jealous about his success and that he “contemplated the unthinkable … my family would be better off without me”.
Ms Scammell also claimed the magistrate who acquitted McLachlan of indecent assault charges robbed him of his victory by criticising his performance as a witness.
She said that was because of the #MeToo climate forcing people to support women.