Nearly a week after allegations of sexual harassment were levelled at Gold Logie-winning actor Craig McLachlan – with a joint ABC and Fairfax investigation alleging the performer harassed and bullied cast mates on the 2014 set of The Rocky Horror Show – a dark, foreboding cloud has been cast over the future of TV show The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
On Saturday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported further accusations of misconduct against McLachlan, this time on the set of the widely popular TV show.
“There is no possibility that they didn’t know he was up to inappropriate behaviour. I don’t know how blind and deaf you have to be to miss this stuff,” one crew member told Fairfax of McLachlan’s behaviour on set.
In light of the accusations, the producers of Doctor Blake, December Media, announced they would temporarily halt preparations for the new series while the allegations against McLachlan are investigated by police.
And it’s here, at this point, where those affected by McLachlan’s actions enter the hundreds.
Because in halting production – which is, of course, the responsible thing to do – there are jobs and livelihoods on the line.
According to Fairfax, the Internet Movie Database estimated more than 650 people are listed as cast or crew in previous seasons of the show. As the future of the show is uncertain, so too are the jobs of those involved.
Meanwhile, Film Victoria estimates that a typical Australian drama of this size creates up to 200 jobs and injects up to $8 million into the state economy.
Because the ugly, uncomfortable truth about sexual harassment is that it’s expensive. That the victims who come forward – though they’re the ones who experience the greatest amount of trauma – aren’t the only ones affected.
Instead, there are families and colleagues and former and current friends who are pulled into the story.
And it’s facts like these that make it all the more difficult for victims to actually come forward and speak their truth.
Coming forward about sexual harassment, assault and misconduct isn't glamorous or financially savvy or a neat narrative. It's messy and triggering and ignites a fast, unstoppable ripple effect beyond the short radius of direct victims.
On Thursday, some three days after coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against her Rocky Horror Show co-star, accomplished theatre performer Christie Whelan Browne began to realise one reason victims of harassment and assault don't come forward.
"The people who have tweeted me to say they hope I get raped, hope I never work again & that they wish to spit in my face are incredibly hard to ignore. But the amount of love is drowning them out. So I thank you. Rising above is hard, but I’m trying," she wrote on Twitter.
Of course, in Whelan Brown's case, coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment seems to predictably, but not less horrifyingly, come part and parcel with violent rape and death threats. But it also comes with the knowledge that these accusations aren't going to just affect one person; the perpetrator. It comes with the knowledge that this will have bigger, more far reaching consequences for other people, too.
And that's why it's all the more brave for people like Whelan Browne and her former colleagues Angela Scundi and Erika Heynatz to come forward.
In order to affect serious change, accusations of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment must be disruptive. Business must become messy, money must be lost and executives have to be inconvenienced.
Because then, and only then, do they come to the alarming realisation that keeping a big star, an alleged sexual harasser, on set and on the books isn't good for business. In fact, it's not good for anyone.
So, to the hundreds and hundreds of people affected by the alleged actions of Craig McLachlan, we are thinking of you.
Because unfortunately, sometimes the push for greater good comes at the cost of a few innocent bystanders.
Listen: The revolution came for Don Burke, and has now come for Craig McLachlan. So what next?