Craig McLachlan files defamation proceedings over sexual harassment claims

Actor Craig McLachlan has filed defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media and the ABC over publication of claims of sexual harassment.

Also named in the defamation suit is McLachlan’s former co-star Christie Whelan Browne, who is one of three women who made accusation regarding inappropriate behaviour during the 2014 tour of The Rocky Horror Show.

Chanel Seven has described the defamation claim as principally targeting Christie Whelan Browne. In the legal documents McLachlan’s lawyers describe his former co-star in unflattering terms.

Well known QC Stuart Littlemore is representing McLachan alongside well known defamation lawyer Mark O’Brien. The case will be heard in March.

The joint report between the ABC’s 7:30 and Fairfax Media aired claims that McLachlan had sexually harassed and assaulted other cast members of the musical production. Following the accusations he stood down from his leading role in The Rocky Horror Show, which had just begun a new season.

Subsequently there were also claims that McLachlan had also acted inappropriately on the set of his hit TV show The Doctor Blake Mysteries. Production of a new series of that show was also put on hold.

Yesterday the show’s producers said they had completed a thorough investigation and cleared McLachlan. The producers hired an external consultant who interviewed a large number of people who worked on the show.

December Media said the Doctor Blake set had a “lewd and Bawdy” atmosphere, but there was no evidence of sexual harassment or bullying occurring.

“People highlighted the fact that Doctor Blake’s workplace culture has consisted of, amongst other things, a workplace humour which has been described by many as sexual, lewd, bawdy, ‘Benny-Hill-esque’ and crude and that some of the behaviour relating to this humour may be offensive to people regardless of the fact no formal complaints have been received.” the producers said yesterday.

OIP Staff

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