A backlash against actor Craig McLachlan and Channel 7 erupted on Twitter before the scheduled “tell all” interview, which continued during its screening on Sunday night.
Those on Twitter either avoided watching it altogether or turned to another channel, with some 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 pedophile”, became suicidal and blames the media for making 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.
New evidence. Never-before-seen footage. Explosive revelations. Craig McLachlan is ready to tell-all. The exclusive documentary not to be missed. @7NewsSpotlight: Horror Show, Tonight 7.00 on @Channel7 pic.twitter.com/jayjUXyllR
— Channel 7 (@Channel7) May 16, 2021
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”.
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 version of events, which dominated media headlines since 2018 when the allegations came forward.
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”.
Watching Craig McLachlan on Channel 7
Not sure if its a comedy or a drama
Either way changed channels
— Eddy Equality (@Real_Eddy_S) May 16, 2021
“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 an on-stage kiss, which was in the Rocky Horror script had resulted in a criminal charge with the female actress saying 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.”
Prior to the program airing, users on Twitter urged people not to tune in to 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”.
Theatre director Richard Carroll tweeted he’d be “walking my dogs and watching the latest episode of Mare of Easttown”.
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.