Rocky Horror star Christie Whelan Browne joked about her genitalia and called co-stars c****s, alleges Oldfield Entertainment who she is suing

The female lead of a musical dogged by claims of sexual misconduct used foul language to shock castmates, talked about her genitalia and pulled down her male co-star’s pants as well as suggestively touching him, a theatre company alleges.

Oldfield Entertainment, which staged the troubled 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show, made the claims about Christie Whelan Browne in documents filed in Federal Court as the company responded to the star’s legal action against them.

Along with three other women involved in the production, Ms Whelan Browne accused co-star Craig McLachlan of assault, indecent assault and making unwanted advances leading to a 2020 trial at the Melbourne Magistrates court where he was found not guilty.

In documents responding to a lawsuit alleging they did not provide a safe work environment, Old Entertainment alleged Ms Whelan Browne was a ‘willing participant’ in sexually suggestive behaviour with Mr McLachlan.

Christie Whelan Browne (pictured left) starred with Craig McLachlan (pictured right) in the ill-fated 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show

This included ‘thrusting fingers up or pinching between the buttocks’, pulling his pants down ‘when he least suspected it’ and discussing her genitalia with him, according to the statement. 

The company also claims Whelan Browne gave McLachlan wedgies, used a towel to flick his groin area or backside, and engaged in mutual crude jokes.

It is also claimed she devised ­derogatory names for her co-stars including ‘talentless c***’ and ‘garbage c***’ and often swore to ‘break down female stereotypes’.

A feud over a changing room led Ms Whelan Browne to insult another cast member, calling her ‘garbage breath’, the court documents filed this week state according to the Daily Telegraph. 

Ms Whelan Browne’s absence during a number of Melbourne performances due to a back injury led to a ‘distancing’ of the ‘camaraderie and relationships’ between her and other cast members, Oldfield Entertainment stated.

The star made ‘critical remarks about the understudies who undertook the role of Janet’ and also derided a male actor’s performance saying he was not doing his job very well. 

In defending the claims made against it by Ms Whelan Browne, Oldfield Entertainment said she was an experienced actor and theatrical union representative who ­made no complaint during the show’s run to either Mr McLachlan or the company.

Mr McLachlan was accused of making unwanted sexual advances during the ‘Janet Bed Scene’ during the play.

Whelan Browne (pictured) alleges theatre company Oldfield Entertainment did not provide a safe work environment during staging of the Rocky Horror Show in 2014

Whelan Browne (pictured) alleges theatre company Oldfield Entertainment did not provide a safe work environment during staging of the Rocky Horror Show in 2014

However, the theatre company maintained these scenes were ‘done in the context of the work that both the applicant and Mr McLachlan had agreed to do under their contracts of employment and pursuant to the director’s guidance’.

In her statement of claim, Ms Whelan Browne says she went on multiple occasions to the staff involved in the production to complain about Mr McLachlan’s alleged conduct and that she was unsupported.

According to Federal Court documents filed against Oldfield Entertainment, Ms Whelan Browne is asking the court to award her $1.5m in damages and a further $500,000 in ­aggravated damages.

Ms Whelan Browne is also seeking an order that Oldfield Entertainment, headed by producer John Frost, issue an apology, and that the court declare that the company contravened the Sex Discrimination Act.

Lawyers for Oldfield Entertainment asked the court to dismiss the statement of claim in its entirety and are seeking costs.

The theatre company rejects the assertion  ‘a reasonable observer would anticipate the allegations of sexualised comments … would cause offence, humiliation or intimidation to the applicant’.

It says the ‘nature of the production including the costumes, characters, dialogue and actions was highly sexualised’.

The company also claims the acting methods required cast members to ‘get into character’, and this meant that ‘sexualised conduct and conversation occurred offstage’.

Ms Whelan Browne went to the media in 2018 with allegations of sexual harassment and indecent assault, among other claims, perpetrated against her and other female co-stars by Mr McLachlan during the 2014 Australian tour of the show.

In a statement published to social media in September last year when she launched Federal Court proceedings against the theatre company, the musical theatre star said Oldfield’s behaviour towards her constituted sex discrimination and unlawful discrimination.

‘Today I filed an application in the Federal Court of Australia against Oldfield… alleging that it unlawfully discriminated against me under the Sex Discrimination Act by subjecting me to sex discrimination, repeated sexual harassment by a fellow cast member and to victimisation when I spoke out against him,’ she said.

‘My claim is about my experiences when I was employed as a lead actor in the Rocky Horror Show in 2014 and then Oldfield’s response to my complaints from 2017 to date.’

Ms Whelan Browne had previously filed a complaint against the company in the Australian Human Rights Commission, which found in February that the matter ‘could not be settled by conciliation’.

A person is not able to file claims of unlawful discrimination in the Federal Court until the commission has terminated the complaint.

‘I filed this application today 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 in the statement.

‘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 than that is ‘just the way it is’.’

Mr McLachlan has always denied the allegations. In 2018, he launched defamation proceedings against multiple media outlets for their coverage of the allegations, which he suddenly dropped in 2022 before key witnesses took the stand.

Following this development in May 2022, Ms Whelan Browne slammed Oldfield on social media for ‘refus(ing) to investigate our claims and threaten(ing) to sue us for defamation’.

The star said her ‘only intention’ in going public with the claims had been to protect female performers in the 2018 production of the show.

Ms Whelan Browne said the experience had left her and the other women ‘significantly traumatised’ and that she received ‘multiple threats and constant abuse’.

‘I know that I haven’t seen the end of it,’ she said.

‘I have lost my feeling of safety in the world, knowing someone wanted so badly to damage me for speaking the truth.

‘This was the result of simply trying to protect other women from the same behaviour.’