Backlash at star’s Channel 7 interview

A Twitter backlash at Craig McLachlan and Channel 7 erupted ahead and during his ‘tell all’ interview on Sunday night, with people fuming,

A backlash against actor Craig McLachlan and Channel 7 erupted on Twitter hours before the scheduled “tell all” interview, which continued during its screening on Sunday night.

Twitter users either avoided watching it, or turned to another channel, some even calling the actor out for excessive “lip quivering”.

In the explosive interview, McLachlan cries, gets angry, rants and rages against what he says has been “the absolute demolition” of his life.

He claims he was made to look like “some dirty paedophile”, contemplated suicide and blames journalists for scheming to make him look bad.

He and his partner, Vanessa Scammell, claim that female accusers were jealous about his success and that he “contemplated the unthinkable … my family would be better off without me”.

Ms Scammel also claims the magistrate who acquitted McLachlan of indecent assault charges robbed him of his victory by criticising his performance as a witness.

She says that was because of the #MeToo climate forcing people to support women.

Twitter users complained Channel 7 was “literally trying to make Craig Mclachlan the victim”.

Others called him a “tosser” or said they had already turned off and were watching something else.

A bitter McLachlan said he hadn’t worked for three years because he had been cruelly targeted.

“The crucifixion was so brutal,” he said.

“In this post Weinstein hashtag #MeToo world I can’t win,” he told Seven.

“I’ve never forced people sexual favours, I’ve never …locked anyone in a hotel room

and told them to give me a handy It is (swears) outrageous.”

The 55-year-old sat down with Seven to tell his side of a story which had dominated headlines since 2018 media allegations and when he was charged in 2019.

The actor was stood down from the Rocky Horror Show and The Doctor Blake Mysteries as a result of being charged.

The interview is McLachlan’s first since being acquitted of sexual harassment allegations in December.

He was frustrated that despite being “100 per cent acquitted” and “an innocent man” he was not believed.

Asked by Channel 7 if where there was smoke, wasn’t there fire, he agreed there was a fire “in the backstage culture of that show”.

“The shenanigans … and consensual carry-on on that show,” he said.

“Yes, I mucked in with the rest of them.

“Make no mistake, I never behaved in a fashion that was disproportionate to what was going on around me.”

He said a stage kiss, which was written into the Rocky Horror script had resulted in a criminal charge, the female actress claiming he had used the moment to tongue kiss her.

The magistrate eventually found there had been no indecent assault.

“I was charged criminally for that kiss …that I performed over 130 times prior to that night

“It’s outrageous, three years, a good life gone.”

Magistrate Belinda Wallington found the women “strong credible and reliable” and ‘brave and honest witnesses”, finding McLachlan overall not to be an impressive witness.

Ms Scammell said those comments had to do with “the #MeToo climate” and “basically, we feel like she that she took it from us.”

McLachlan told Seven he was much in love with his partner, “my beautiful Nessie”, that he could never have been interested in sexual approaches to women in the Rocky Horror cast.

.

Prior to the program screening, Twitter posters including members of the entertainment industry were urging others to do anything else than watch the 90 minute special.

“Do something else on Sunday night. Get together with friends. Cook a great meal. Watch a movie,” ABC presenter Julia Zemiro tweeted.

Actress Virginia Gay suggested instead of watching the program people “got out. See a show. Have a pub meal. Listen to women”.

Indigenous theatre director Richard Carroll tweeted he’d be “walking my dogs and watching the latest episode of Mare of Easttown”.

Others just bagged Mclachlan’s acting ability, one AFL viewer complaining about the show’s promos being run during a match: “Can’t wait till this game is over so I get a break from watching Channel 7 so I don’t have to see Craig McLachlan’s terrible acting anymore”.

Another tweeter pondered “Should I watch the Craig McLachlan backlash against #metoo tonight? Or is life too short …?

The actor had always denied allegations that he sexually harassed female co-stars in the 2014 stage production of The Rocky Horror Show.

But on Twitter at the weekend, the prospect of watching what one tweeter called McLachlan’s “pity party”, was too much to bear.

“It’s not too late for Channel 7 to pull its planned ‘poor widdle me’ McLachlan sob show on Sunday night, should it so choose,” Benjamin Millar tweeted a day before the show was due to air.

He included a link in his tweet to reports about Mr McLachlan’s defamation case.

McLachlan is suing the ABC, Nine newspapers over media reports of the 2014 Rocky Horror Show tour allegations for which he was tried and acquitted.

On Twitter on Sunday, one user suggested: “Ratings will plummet on Ch 7 tonight as Big Brother fans tune in and find the Craig McLachlan pity party on.

“ Whoever had the bright idea of shoving it in the Sunday night timeslot is an idiot. Craig should go and do Panto in England and spare Australia”.

Another criticised Channel 7’s promo for the show, tweeting: “I’m not easily taken aback but I couldn’t believe what I saw last night.

“It wasn’t even the Craig McLachlan story, they were saying things with disdain like ‘In the age of hashtag metoo’.”

A January 2018 report by Fairfax and the ABC first reported allegations McLachlan had been accused of sexually harassing several actresses.

Victoria Police later charged him with seven counts of indecent assault and six counts of common law assault against four women on the set of the Rocky Horror Show in 2014.

He was acquitted of all crimes.

Vanessa Scammell says McLachlan has been “abandoned by everybody”.

RELATED: McLachlan’s courtroom singing ‘unnecessary’

RELATED: Lewd footage of Craig McLachlan airs in court

Last December, Magistrate Belinda Wallington said prosecutors had not met the required standard for her to find McLachlan guilty of the allegations.

Ms Wallington labelled the actor’s behaviour as “egocentric” and said his “self-entitled sense of humour” may have led him to believe the victims were consenting to his acts.

However, she ultimately rejected police allegations the former Neighbours star touched a woman’s genitalia over her costume on stage, that he stuck his tongue into one woman’s mouth and that he felt up a woman’s thigh.

Outside his lawyer’s office after his acquittal, McLachlan said he put his trust in the law.

“As you can imagine, we have a lot to say. We have maintained a dignified and respectful silence for the past almost three years and put our trust in the law,” McLachlan said.

“Stay safe, be kind to each other, we will see you in the New Year.”

candace.sutton@news.com.au

Entertainment – syndicated | Herald Sun