Craig McLachlan’s longtime partner burst into tears while testifying at his libel trial.
Craig McLachlan’s partner burst into tears as she told the court about the moment the actor threw himself into her arms and fell to the ground after he was accused of sexually harassing his co-stars.
Vanessa Scammell took the floor as the second week of Mr McLachlan’s defamation trial began on Monday in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
He is suing former co-star Christy Whelan Brown, ABC and Fairfax Media.
The 56-year-old claims media companies and Ms. Whelan Brown defamed him by publishing stories in January 2018 that he says falsely depicted him as harassing and intimidating female performers on The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2014 year.
He denies the allegations.
Ms Scammell, who has been in a relationship with Mr McLachlan since 2012, told the court the actors were gentle and often physically interacted, welcoming hugs and kisses, while Ms Whelan Brown “flicked the rubber band” over her shorts. Mr. McLachlan and did it. “interesting remarks”.
“She referred to what was under her boxer shorts and beat him with a towel,” Scammell said in court.
Ms Scammell said that Ms Whelan Brown often “slapped Craig in the groin or butt” and witnessed her give him a “hard slap on the buttocks” backstage at a show in Melbourne.
When asked about Mr. McLachlan’s reaction to the Jan. 8 ABC and FairFax Media publications, Ms. Scammell was clearly emotional.
She told the court the couple were “shocked” by the news, causing Mr. MacLachlan to become “a wreck”.
“He was unable to respond and I was worried about his mental state,” Ms Scammell said.
“He was so damaged that I could barely get a constructive suggestion out of him.”
Ms Scammell told the court that she first saw her partner in rural Victoria about a week after the allegations broke, when he was smuggled out of Adelaide and flown on a private jet to her sister’s property.
When she reached her sister’s house, Scammell told the court that she could not find Mr. MacLachlan.
“I went out into the backyard because they have chokes and he loves chokes,” Ms Scammell told the court through tears.
“He was sitting in the back and that was the first time we saw each other and we threw ourselves into each other’s arms and we collapsed to the ground and we didn’t move for 40 minutes, we didn’t talk.”
She told the court that Mr. McLachlan was “devastated, humiliated and destroyed” and felt he had been “beaten”.
Earlier in the day, Mr. McLachlan ended his testimony on the fifth day, when he told the court that he had sent a video to Ms. Whelan Brown of him “assuming he was masturbating.”
The couple worked together on the Network Ten television series The Wrong Girl from 2016 to 2017, where the court was told they would joke around and use the nicknames “turkey and chump” – slang for rough sexual practices.
Defense counsel Michael Hodge QC wondered if Mr McLachlan was prompted by the nicknames to send in a video of him “mimicking a goofball”.
“Would you send her videos of you allegedly masturbating in the toilet?” Mr Hodge asked.
Mr McLachlan said he sent videos of him pretending to masturbate fully clothed but “not in the closet.”
He told the court that he brought sexual jokes and pranks to The Rocky Horror Show, such as a gag in which he “swallowed” bananas, masturbated the crew members’ hands, and used the nickname “turkey” again.
“You peeled a banana and shaped it to look like a penis and then deepthroated it,” Mr Hodge said.
Mr MacLachlan replied, “Well, the banana is already shaped, but yes.”
The actor denied “playing female actors against each other” during a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2014.
He was being questioned about an incident between performer Erika Heinatz and a producer, where Mr. McLachlan was allegedly outraged that the producer had scheduled a commercial for him.
“You called the producer an accompaniment and were so pissed off that you wanted her to stay away from you,” Mr. Hodge suggested.
Mr MacLachlan replied, “No.”
He again denied using the same word to describe Ms Whelan Brown when she had to take a break from the show in Melbourne due to a back injury and said the other performer was crap.
“You said to Ms. Heinatz that “Christy is in action and will not be back,” Mr. Hodge said.
“When Ms. Whelan Brown came back, at one point you said to her, ‘Thank God you’re back, she’s so shitty and her pussy stinks.’
Mr MacLachlan replied, “No, I didn’t.”
The trial continues.