Australian actor, Craig McLachlan, who appeared in Neighbours and Home and away in the 1980’s and 1990’s, has denied allegations of assault and indecent assault at a Melbourne Magistrates court on Monday 18 November 2019. Four co-stars, who were part of a production of the Rocky Horror Show in 2014, have made allegations relating to Mr McLachlan’s behaviour whilst performing a bedroom scene out of sight of the audience. Part of the scene required Mr McLachlan to simulate sex acts, however it is alleged that he acted beyond the scope of the direction provided by the director in that he kissed a co-stars neck, stomach and buttock as well as used his finger to trace the outline of her genitals. Another accuser alleges that, without being directed to do so, he forced his tongue into his co-stars mouth and pushed his groin into her stomach area. A third accuser stated that he had tickled her foot and reached towards her groin, out of the sight of the audience. When confronted, the accusers allege that Mr McLachlan acted defensively. It is Mr McLachlan’s case that some events did not occur and those that did take place were not indecent. He also claims to have been given licence and discretion to ad lib scenes by the director.
The criminal hearing is ongoing and is likely to last three weeks, with approximately 30 witnesses due to give evidence. Mr McLachlan has denied the allegations and has brought defamation claims against media outlets and a former co-star. The defamation proceedings are stayed pending the outcome of the criminal trial.
The case highlights the difficulties faced by those working in creative industries, especially when performing material with sexual content, and raises interesting questions regarding the role of the director in setting boundaries, their control over the contents of the performance and actions of their actors.
Written by Louise Roden, Solicitor, BLM