“Erica’s arse! Zoom in so the guys in the booth can have a look,” breakfast television host, Eric, tells the camera in Season Two of The Wrong Girl. “Isn’t that a thing of beauty? It’s a peach. It’s a ripe peach.”
It was the moment that saw Craig McLachlan‘s character embroiled in sexual harassment scandal on the axed Channel 10 sitcom, accused by his former colleague (played by Madeleine West) of sexual harassment, of objectifying her body for his own perverse entertainment.
Today, a very similar story is playing out for the 1990 Gold Logie winner, only this time it’s not from the pages of television script.
The 52-year-old actor finds himself on the receiving end of disturbing sexual misconduct allegations, after Fairfax journalist Kate McClymont published claims of sexual assault, bullying and harassment made by three of his former co-stars.
The women – Christie Whelan Browne, Angela Scundi, and model/actress Erika Heynatz – all worked alongside McLachlan in the 2014 Australian stage production of the Rocky Horror Show, in which the Logie-winning McLachlan played lead male role, Dr Frank-N-Furter.
According to McClymont, both Scundi and Heynatz have given detailed statements to police alleging “a number of actresses in the show were subjected to McLachlan touching their genitals, groping their breasts, exposing himself and pressing his penis against them”.
McLachlan has fiercely denied all the allegations made in McClymont’s story, and told Fairfax the “baseless” claims “seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety”.
LISTEN: Tracey Spicer on why the #metoo movement has kick-started a new way of thinking worldwide.
For fans of The Wrong Girl, the story will be eerily familiar. McLachlan’s character on the series, Eric Albrectson, is portrayed as egotistical, deeply sexist, a man who – in commenting on his co-star’s arse – sees her not as an equal but “another piece of meat”.
While McLachlan himself described Eric as “almost the most hated man on Australian television” in an interview with Stuff, he also insisted “there’s nothing nasty in the guy and that was really important. I didn’t want Eric to be a prick”.