A Rocky Horror Show actor has commenced legal proceedings against the production company behind the 2014 production.
Christie Whelan Browne claims the company discriminated against her following sexual harassment allegations she made against co-star Craig McLachlan.
Rocky Horror actor sues
Ms Browne filed her claim in the Federal Court on Friday against Oldfield Entertainment, formerly known as GFO Entertainment.
She alleges she experienced unlawful discrimination after making the allegations in 2018 against co-star Craig McLachlan.
The stage actor claimed Mr McLachlan sexually harassed her and other female co-stars.
In a statement, the musical theatre star said Oldfield’s behaviour towards her constituted unlawful sex discrimination.
Rocky Horror producers apply for permanent stay
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Oldfield revealed on Friday they intend to seek a summary dismissal or permanent stay of the claims.
They argue the lapse in time since the alleged incidents is too long.
“We are significantly prejudiced by the delay … named individuals in the statement of claim no longer work for the respondent (Oldfield), and haven’t for many years,” lawyer Ms Burns said.
“We can therefore no longer direct those individuals to participate in these proceedings. The respondent is not even sure where many of these individuals currently reside.
“It’s a question of having to issue subpoenas for these witnesses to give evidence. The recollection of the witnesses will have diminished significantly over that time.”
Human Rights Commission
Ms Browne initially filed a complaint against the company in the Australian Human Rights Commission.
It concluded in February the matter “could not be settled by conciliation”, however.
Lawyers for Oldfield told the court that the AHRC terminated the complaint as a result of the length of time that had elapsed since the alleged incidents.
Rocky Horror actor takes to social media
Recently, Ms Browne posted on social media about the allegations of discrimination and victimisation.
“I filed this application … with fear and anxiety, but also certain in the knowledge that it is something I must do and that I will see it through to the end,” she said.
“I know that I deserved better treatment, that I deserved to feel safe and respected in my workplace. Other women in the arts deserve better, and I won’t accept that anything less.”
Lawyer Kate Eastman urged the court to produce a clear timetable for the proceedings.
She argued the court timetable ought to be “trauma-informed” and give Ms Browne certainty.
“Our client (Ms Browne), as you know, has been subjected to a lot of media attention in relation to some of the subject matter of this proceeding,” Ms Eastman told the court.
“I‘m concerned about a process that requires her to prepare a very detailed written affidavit regarding all of those incidents again.
“I think she will be able to give her evidence orally.”
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McLachlan denies wrongdoing
Meanwhile, Mr McLachlan has always denied the allegations and a court in 2020 acquitted him of sexually related criminal charges including acts of indecency.
In 2018, he launched defamation proceedings against multiple media outlets for their coverage of the allegations.
He later dropped his claim before key witnesses took the stand.
Justice Elizabeth Raper adjourned the current matter until 25 September.
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