Craig McLachlan leaves Rocky Horror after harassment claims

Craig McLachlan, centre, performing in Rocky Horror Show in 2015. Photo: Janie Barrett
Craig McLachlan, centre, performing in Rocky Horror Show in 2015. Photo: Janie Barrett

Craig McLachlan will not continue in the Rocky Horror Show stage musical, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and indecent assault by female colleagues. 

Last year, McLachlan reprised the lead role of Dr Frank-N-Furter.

A joint Fairfax Media/ABC investigation can reveal that Award-Winning Australian actor Craig McLachlan has been accused of indecent assault, sexual harassment and bullying while performing in the hit musical 'The Rocky Horror Show' in 2014.

A statement from producers The Gordon Frost Organisation said the company was "shocked" to learn of the allegations against its star. 

Craig McLachlan in Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Adam Fulton

Craig McLachlan in Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Adam Fulton

"We have spoken to Craig and have mutually agreed 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 cooperate fully with authorities," the statement read.

"In order to clarify media reports, we wish to state that we were not aware of any details of these allegations until they were published in the media today. We received correspondence from a law firm shortly before Christmas however this contained no details of the claims or the claimants. The response from our lawyers was based on this lack of information and was not in any way directed at the women who have come forward and made these allegations.

"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. 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 [harassment] allegations, and this will form a part of our internal investigation."

Angela Scundi has accused Craig McLachlan of inappropriate behaviour during a production of Rocky Horror Show.  Photo: Janie Barrett

Angela Scundi has accused Craig McLachlan of inappropriate behaviour during a production of Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Janie Barrett

On Monday, a joint Fairfax Media-ABC investigation revealed the Gold Logie-winning actor – famous for his starring roles in The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Neighbours and Home and Away – has been accused of indecent assault, sexual harassment, exposing himself and bullying female colleagues.

Two Rocky Horror Show cast members have lodged a complaint with Victoria Police, alleging that a number of actresses in the show were subjected to McLachlan touching their genitals, groping their breasts, exposing himself and pressing his penis against them.

"He's really calculated and very manipulative, a predator," said model and actress Erika Heynatz​, one of those who have gone to the police.

One of the country's leading musical performers, Christie Whelan Browne, now starring in Muriel's Wedding The Musical, performed the lead role of Janet during the 2014 Rocky Horror tour. She alleged that McLachlan indecently assaulted her during the show.

McLachlan has strongly denied the allegations.

Kylie Minogue and Craig McLachlan played siblings in Neighbours. Photo: Supplied

Kylie Minogue and Craig McLachlan played siblings in Neighbours. Photo: Supplied

In an email, he said, "These allegations are ALL made up ... I have NEVER done anything like this ... I am, and have been at all relevant times, in a stable relationship with my long-term partner."

He said the allegations "seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety". 

A spokesman for the Gordon Frost Organisation said the company "has rigorous rules, guidelines, and procedures in place regarding all work-related issues, including for grievances and OHS generally, and requires all staff, casts and contractors to follow such. GFO places the safety and well-being of its staff, casts, contractors and members of the public as its highest priority at all times, and we trust that our longevity in this industry shows this.

"These events will not affect the production across Australia of the Rocky Horror Show, and our excellent cast are looking forward to continuing to bring this production to Australian audiences as per the current schedule."

It is unclear who will fill McLachlan's role for the remainder of the season.

Last year, the Seven network picked up the rights to the Doctor Blakeseries – after the ABC axed the show in March, despite it pulling in about one million viewers per episode.

The popular series – which ran for five seasons on the ABC, wrapping up in November – is set to debut on Seven in 2018. In a statement, the network 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 said there had been "no complaints made to the ABC involving any members of the Doctor Blake cast, who are employed by December Media".

A Ten spokesperson said the network had not received any complaints about McLachlan's behaviour during his stint on The Wrong Girl, where he played sleazy breakfast TV host Eric Albrectson​ for two seasons since 2016.

"If we had been, we would have acted swiftly and decisively," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding the network "will not tolerate bullying, harassment or any form of discrimination, and we expect our business partners to have the same zero tolerance approach."

The Rocky Horror Show opened late last year in Adelaide, and will debut in Brisbane on January 18 before moving to Perth, then Melbourne.