Craig McLachlan denies throwing tantrums, calling co-stars ‘ungrateful and untalented’ in court

Actor Craig McLachlan has denied to his defamation trial that he frequently threw backstage tantrums during a production of The Rocky Horror Show and, on one occasion, called his co-stars “ungrateful and untalented c *** s”.

The 56-year-old is suing the ABC and Nine Entertainment Co over stories published in 2018 which alleged he assaulted female cast members during a 2014 Australian tour of The Rocky Horror Show.

He is also a suing actor Christie Whelan Browne, who played the female lead in the show, and was interviewed by the news outlets.

McLachlan denies all claims of sexual harassment and bullying in the stories and says they ruined his reputation and put an end to his acting career.

Today, the media outlets’ barrister, Michael Hodge QC, tried to depict McLachlan as a man with a temper who would take his frustrations out on his co-stars.

He asserted that during one show on May 9, 2014, McLachlan was so angry about a scene that had not gone as planned he yelled and swore at his colleagues backstage before kicking a rubbish bin.

“You said ‘you’re a bunch of untalented, ungrateful c *** s’,” Mr Hodge told the court.

“No I did not,” McLachlan said.

The actor also rejected claims he forcefully grabbed Whelan Browne’s face on stage later that night and said he only found out she made a bullying complaint when he read the news reports four years later.

McLachlan also rejected “storming off” after musical supervisor Tony Castro gave him singing advice and telling his co-stars that “[Mr Castro] wouldn’t like the food at Sydney Hospital “.

a woman wearing dark glasses
Christie Whelan Browne is being sued for defamation.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Throughout the trial, McLachlan has maintained he enjoyed jovial relationships with many of his female co-stars and “theatrical” yet platonic hugs and kisses were common.

Today, he told the court it was possible he sat on the lap of actor Erika Heynatz and kissed her neck backstage one day, but strongly denied putting his crotch in her lap or ever entering her dressing room without consent.

The long-time performer repeatedly claimed he and Whelan Browne were good friends throughout the show, but today the court was shown an email which McLachlan sent to a production director calling Whelan Browne “Lucifer”.

The email read: “I was privately celebrating London’s directive that the perpetually problematic Whelan Browne be sent packing.”

“Lucifer is being given another chance next week. Really ???? OMG.

“The princess wins again… we all continue to march to the sound of her selfish, delusional, disrespectful and frankly nasty drum.”

McLachlan said those were only his “professional” views of Whelan Browne and “friends call each other all sorts of things”.

Eleven women will give evidence during the trial alleging McLachlan behaved inappropriately during various theater and TV productions and will detail allegations of groping and indecent exposure.

One actor also in The Rocky Horror Show, Angela Scundi, accused McLachlan of an unwanted kiss on stage in which he used his tongue, but today McLachlan told the court it was a “peck”.

The jury were shown raw footage from McLachlan’s interview with Channel Seven program Spotlight last year which showed he and his partner re-enacting the scene to try and prove a “pash” wasn’t possible given the musical timing.

McLachlan was also seen telling the Channel Seven interviewer that he was the “star of the f **** n show” and he would never put the scene at risk by lingering for a kiss.

The trial continues.


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