Five years on from sexual harassment allegations, Craig McLachlan has spoken out on SAS Australia.

Craig McLachlan has stepped back into the spotlight as a recruit on the new season of SAS Australia

The decision to cast the former Neighbours star on the Channel 7 reality show came with controversy, as the actor has had assault, sexual harassment, indecent exposure and bullying allegations made against him in recent years.

"There was something that happened five years ago that was shocking for the public and shocking for me. Craig McLachlan: disgraced actor, workplace bully, monster," the actor said during the premiere.

"I'm here to exorcise some pretty extreme pain with some pretty extreme pain."

During the premiere episode, the actor said that he found being around a group of fellow celebrities more daunting than the gruelling challenges.

"I suffer extreme social anxiety. I find it very difficult to trust situations where there are a lot of people, especially women. I'm more anxious about being in a new group of people than climbing up a mountain."

In his first interrogation, Craig opened up about his work as an actor. "I love the work but I don't love show business. I don't love that world," he said. When pressed to elaborate, he said, "In 2014, I played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show."

At this point, the DS (Directing Staff) team asked if the show was "sexual". He replied that the show was "absurd, it's fetishy, and as a performer when you sign on for that show, you sign on for the fetish nature of it, the comedy".

"During the rehearsal process, you're in close quarters, you're trying out new gags, you're touching each other, not inappropriately."


He was then asked if he remained professional, to which Craig replied "Absolutely." Craig then claimed he had 15 criminal charges made against him in 2018.

"Fifteen charges is a lot of charges," one of DS team replied. Craig became quite irritated, shouting at the two men, "I was found not guilty of any criminal behaviour. It was because I was f**king innocent!"

At this stage, he was told to "calm down", to which he responded with "I've been profoundly hurt". He later described the 2018 experience as being "publically crucified".

Asked if he was the victim, McLachlan spoke about how he felt people turned on him during that time.

"People only months before told me, 'You create the most wonderful work environment'... but the vast majority were gone," he said. 

In 2020, McLachlan faced seven indecent assault charges and six common assault charges involving allegations from 2014 when he was performing in Rocky Horror Show, brought by four women including actress Christie Whelan Browne.

A Melbourne magistrate acquitted McLachlan of all charges, noting that his accusers were brave and honest, but the evidence was not enough to prove the incidents amounted to assault.

In May 2021, Teagan Wouters, Tamzen Hayes, Anna Samson and three others came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and bullying on the set of The Doctor Blake Mysteries and The Rocky Horror Show, in court documents obtained by the ABC

McLachlan initially sued the ABC, Fairfax and Christie Whelan Browne for defamation, but he dropped the case in May 2022. The actor dropped the case on the day that 11 women were scheduled to provide evidence about incidents of sexual harassment, indecent exposure, indecent assault, and bullying.


“I cannot continue to place my family under that strain, and my own mental health will not withstand the continuing pressure,” he said at the time.

"Ending the case now will finally bring to an end the four years we have endured since the publications were first made, as well as avoiding the need for other witnesses to have to endure the cross-examination process."

Whelan Browne also gave a statement. "My name was dragged through the mud and my character and own behaviour was exaggerated and called into question. I had thought this kind of shaming was a thing of the past, but I was wrong," she said. 

"The past four and a half years have significantly traumatised me and the other brave women who spoke up at the time and afterwards."

In response to Craig being described as a "controversial former actor" on a SAS Australia promo, Christie tweeted her disappointment.

"How do we feel about someone who was charged on multiple sexual assault charges being put back on TV and being referred to simply as a 'controversial figure,'" she tweeted.

"I am so f**king sick of this s**t."

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Feature image: Channel 7.