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

Actor Craig McLachlan has denied in his libel suit that he frequently threw tantrums backstage during a production of The Rocky Horror Show and on one occasion called his co-stars “assholes ungrateful and without talent”.

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 suing actor Christie Whelan Browne, who played the female lead on the show, and was interviewed by the media.

McLachlan denies all allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the stories and says they ruined his reputation and ended his acting career.

Today media lawyer Michael Hodge QC attempted to paint McLachlan as an angry man who would take out his frustrations on his co-stars.

He claimed that during a show on May 9, 2014, McLachlan was so angry at a scene that did not go as planned that he shouted and insulted his colleagues backstage before kicking in a trash can.

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

“No, I didn’t,” McLachlan said.

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

McLachlan also dismissed the “assault” after music supervisor Tony Castro gave him singing advice and told his co-stars that “[Mr Castro] wouldn’t like Sydney Hospital food”.

Christie Whelan Browne is being sued for defamation.(PA: Dan Himbrechts)

Throughout the trial, McLachlan maintained that he had jovial relationships with several of his female co-stars and that “theatrical” but platonic hugs and kisses were common.

Today he told court it was possible he sat on actress Erika Heynatz’s lap and kissed her neck backstage one day, but strongly denied putting his crotch on his knees or entering his dressing room without his consent.

The longtime performer has repeatedly claimed that he and Whelan Browne were good friends throughout the show, but today the court received an email McLachlan sent to the production manager calling Whelan Browne “Lucifer”.

The email read: ‘I was privately celebrating London’s directive that the perennially problematic Whelan Browne should be fired.’

“Lucifer has another chance next week. Really???? OMG.

“The princess wins again… we all keep marching to the sound of her selfish, delirious, disrespectful and downright mean drum.”

McLachlan said these were just his “professional” opinions on Whelan Browne and that “friends call each other all kinds of things”.

Eleven women will testify during the trial alleging that McLachlan behaved inappropriately during various theater and television productions and will detail the allegations of groping and indecent exposure.

A cast member also on The Rocky Horror Show, Angela Scundi, accused McLachlan of an unwanted onstage kiss in which he used his tongue, but today McLachlan told the court it was a ‘spike’.

The jury saw raw footage from McLachlan’s interview with Channel Seven’s Spotlight show last year, which showed him 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 would never endanger the stage by lingering for a kiss .

The trial continues.

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