TWO MORE CONTACT POLICE ABOUT MCLACHLAN

Following the joint ABC-Fairfax investigation into accusations of indecent assault against Craig McLachlan, The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that at least two more people have contacted police concerning the actor’s alleged behaviour.

Yesterday, it was reported that actresses Angela Scundi, Erika Heynatz and Christie Whelan Browne allege they were sexually assaulted and harassed by McLachlan during the 2014 production of the Rocky Horror Show. The actor has since stepped down from the 2018 tour of the show. McLachlan has strenuously denied the allegations.

Producers at The Gordon Frost Organisation confirmed yesterday the actor will not continue in the lead role of Dr Frank-N-Furter.

“We have spoken to Craig and have mutually agreed it is not appropriate for him to continue in the current production of the show,” a statement from the company said. “We will be conducting a full internal investigation and will cooperate fully with authorities.”

In December, Scundi and Heynatz lodged complaints with Victoria Police alleging that actresses in the stage show were subjected to sexual harassment and indecent assault from McLachlan. They had also contacted The Gordon Frost Organisation ahead of the 2018 Adelaide tour, but, prior to the media blow-up, were allegedly met with threats of defamation.

Victoria Police has since confirmed that they are investigating “allegations of sexual offences dating back to 2014”.

DOYLE FACES SECOND CLAIM OF HARASSMENT

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is facing fresh allegations of sexual harassment by a second city councillor, Cathy Oke, who has told an independent investigation that Doyle tried to kiss her while they were in his office and, in a separate incident, had clutched her thigh under a table.

The Age reports that Oke has given evidence to Ian Freckelton QC as part of the City Council investigation into allegations against Doyle, launched after former councillor Tessa Sullivan resigned in December citing repeated instances of sexual harassment.

The second set of allegations come as Doyle, who has denied the claims, begins a campaign with public relations firm Newgate to restore his reputation. The firm on Monday released text messages between Doyle and Sullivan, submitted as evidence of the pair’s initially cordial relationship, to the Herald Sun ($).

The independent report is now expected to return to council within days.

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia: Marriage equality! Same-sex attracted couples, who did not previously get special dispensation for early weddings, can finally get married.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Blackouts just ‘par for the course’ says Energy Minister Don Harwin during NSW hot season ($)

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson’s Port Melbourne house raided

Superannuation raids to pay for health bills

The Daily Telegraph tried to cover the Golden Globes but it was an absolute trainwreck

THE COMMENTARIAT

Penrith swelters while Florida freezes: climate disruption is to blameWill Steffen (Sydney Morning Herald): “On Sunday the temperature at Penrith hit 47.3 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest place on Earth during that 24-hour period. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, extreme cold and snow penetrated deep into the south-east United States. In normally sub-tropical Florida, frozen iguanas were falling out of trees from the extreme cold. “Give us a bit of that ‘global warming’,” President Trump thundered sarcastically.”

Coalition’s lies expose economic ineptitude — Paul Syvret (The Daily Telegraph $ ): “Never a mob to let a few facts get in the way of fearmongering, the Government shelved the advice and went into attack mode. Treasurer Scott Morrison likened Labor’s policy to a “chainsaw”, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull opted for “sledgehammer”, while resident attack dog Peter Dutton channelled almost Biblical visions of the apocalypse, warning that “I think the economy will come to a shuddering halt and I think the stock market will crash”.”

An irreplaceable distiller of ideas: Ron Tandberg mourned by admirersMelissa Cunningham and Carolyn Webb (The Age): “The late Age cartoonist Ron Tandberg “could say in a pixel what the rest of us could hope to express in an entire story”, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said. His comments were among tributes that flowed for the legendary Tandberg, who lost his battle with cancer on Monday afternoon.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

‘African gang’ rhetoric goes beyond dog-whistlingChristopher Warren: “The virtue of dog-whistling was that supposedly only the dogs could hear you; the whistler can straight-faced deny that race is involved. Looking back, it’s almost quaintly respectable.”

Fire and Furphy: just how credible are Michael Wolff’s claims about Trump?Bhakthi Puvanenthiran: “Wolff’s supporters are not deterred by claims of falsehoods and loose ethics. To them, the portrait of a hot mess is worth a loss of small details.”

Two men escape from immigration detention, Border Force keeps schtumCharlie Lewis: Crikey can report that two men escaped from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation detention facility in Broadmeadows north of Melbourne on New Year’s Eve. It’s not clear whether the two men have been apprehended, but Crikey understands that either way, they have not been returned to Broadmeadows.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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