Former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle (Image: AAP)

Barely a week seems to go by without another powerful man accused of sexual harassment and indecent assault. Today, The Age has reported fresh allegations against Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who’s currently embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal being investigated by the Melbourne City Council. It’s become a familiar story, a well-established pattern, following the revelations last year about Fox News’ Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, producer Harvey Weinstein and others. But one thing that doesn’t always follow the same pattern is how the accused men react.

Robert Doyle — the spinner

Doyle has denied all the allegations, and gone into full reputation-protection mode. Currently facing an investigation by his council (where a report is due within days), the Lord Mayor has employed a public relations firm. The Age reports today that the firm released text messages between one of the alleged victims and Doyle, while the Herald Sun appears to have published some of those messages in its coverage today.

Craig McLachlan — the all-caps defence

Explosive revelations from Fairfax and the ABC about the long-time darling of Australian TV and theatre this week have been roundly rejected by McLachlan. He declined interview requests for the reports yesterday, but responded to allegations by denying all. Excerpts of his statement published by Fairfax included his denial of the allegations made, saying that they were “baseless” and “they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety … These allegations are ALL made up.” He also said he hadn’t made any unwanted sexual advances: “I am, and have been at all relevant times, in a stable relationship with my long-term partner.”

Don Burke — the tell-all interview

The same reporting team behind the McLachlan story reported on allegations of bullying and indecent behaviour against former Nine Network gardening star Don Burke. Burke chose to respond to the story by appearing on A Current Affair on Nine for an interview with Tracy Grimshaw — someone he may have thought would go easy on him, but didn’t. Burke apologised in the interview for being too hard on staff, and suggested some of his behaviour was due to suffering self-diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. He denied any allegations of sexual or indecent harassment or behaviour.

Geoffrey Rush — the lawyer 

The Daily Telegraph controversially reported on a report made to Sydney Theatre Company about actor Geoffrey Rush’s behaviour while performing in King Lear. Rush had not been told of the allegations and promptly lodged a defamation lawsuit against the News Corp publication, which is yet to be heard.

Harvey Weinstein — the full gamut

The name that prompted the biggest global reaction and movement, Harvey Weinstein has responded to many allegations against him in various ways: he’s denied some, sued over others, said sorry, and has gone to therapy.

Kevin Spacey — the coming-out 

Actor Kevin Spacey was accused of inappropriate sexual advances to an underage boy shortly after the Weinstein revelations last year, and responded by releasing a statement saying he had no memory of the incident, apologising and also, most controversially, coming out as gay in what appeared to be a deflection from the accusations.

Louis CK — the unqualified admission

When allegations of sexual misconduct against Louis CK were published in November, he also responded with a statement. In it he admitted all the allegations in a statement saying, “these stories are true”. His apology was unqualified, and his statement ended by saying he was taking a step back to “listen”. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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