Cast and crew of TV show The Doctor Blake Mysteries have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Craig McLachlan, despite the production company behind the show saying it had not received any complaints about the star.
The new allegations, reported by ABC and Fairfax, include accusations that McLachlan “dry humped” a female crew member and told a male crew member he’d “prefer a hand job” when he asked if he’d like a drink.
Production of the TV series was suspended earlier this week and broadcasting of the Doctor Blake telemovie was cancelled after three actresses came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against the 52-year-old. McLachlan has vehemently denied the allegations.
The show’s production company December Media released a statement earlier this week saying it was “confident … there have been no incidents involving any member of cast or crew, acting in any way inappropriately towards other cast or crew”.
But on Friday the company said it had appointed an independent investigator to speak to cast and crew in light of the new allegations.
“If these allegations are substantiated, this points to a serious breakdown in the adherence to the policies and procedures that December Media has in place,” December Media chief executive Stuart Menzies said.
The male crew member, however, told the ABC “there is no possibility that they didn’t know he was up to inappropriate behaviour”.
McLachlan has yet to respond to the latest allegations.
The crew member, who worked on two episodes of Doctor Blake in 2016, reportedly said he was shocked McLachlan’s overtly sexual behaviour was tolerated.
“But right from the start, in my first few days there I thought, ‘surely not everyone is OK with this’, he said.
He spoke of an incident in which he alleges during one rehearsal McLachlan held a banana at his crotch and thrust it into people’s faces.
“Right in the middle of rehearsing this scene, Craig gets up and walks out. He comes back a minute later and he’s got a banana,” the crew member told ABC.
“He’s holding it where his crotch is and starts thrusting it into the face of the actress and then into the face of the director and everyone just kind of laughs because what else are you going to do?
The crew member said in another incident the actor humped a female camera assistant “like a dog”.
He said the woman didn’t react to the shocking behaviour.
In another story, the crew member said McLachlan directed his lewd behaviour to him, after he asked the star if he’s like a drink at lunchtime.
“No thanks, I’d prefer a hand job thank you,” the crew member alleges McLachlan responded.
While the crew member says he never made a complaint, he said “those in charge were often on set and could see it for themselves”.
According to Fairfax, an extra on the show in 2013, also came forward with accusations against McLachlan saying he saw him push his crotch against a female wardrobe assistant.
“I was just sitting around and Craig came up to a woman, I think she was in wardrobe, and he pressed his crotch against her leg, while she was facing the other way.”
“[McLachlan}said, ‘Oops, you got a bit of knob on you’.” The extra said the woman just laughed it off.
The publication also reports a woman working the office of the production company was verbally abused over the phone by McLachlan in 2016.
“It was effing this, effing that. He also called her the C-word,” a witness recalled.
The co-worked claimed a complaint was made to management about the incident, but she was basically told there was nothing they could do about it.
The Advertiser is not suggesting the claims are true, only that they’ve been made.