#MeToo Coming a Cropper in Aus

Actors Craig McLachlan (L) and Geoffrey Rush (R) are fighting back against #MeToo accusations. Pictures: Tim Hunter; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic.

When the Weinstein scandal broke loose, the Hollywood “liberal” establishment was sent reeling. For decades, these finger-wagging millionaires had appointed themselves as the moral arbiters of society and suddenly their bully-pulpit was collapsing under them.

The Hollywood elites and their camp-followers on the left scrambled desperately to find a comeback. They found their answer with the #MeToo hashtag. With a few clicks, the narrative changed from “liberal” elites behaving foully, to a modern march of the tricoteuses. Like so many Madame Defarges, social media harpies set about sending as many men to the guillotine as they possibly could. The well-sourced reports of the egregious predation of Hollywood establishment figures like Weinstein were buried under an avalanche of too often frivolous accusations.

Some Australian stars subject to #MeToo accusations are hitting back.

Craig McLachlan sues Fairfax, ABC over sexual harassment claims

McLachlan has been cleared of sexual harassment on the Doctor Blake Mysteries set, by workplace consultant Fiona Bigelli. Bigelli found that the Doctor Blake workplace culture included a crude, “Benny-Hil-esque” humour, but that “there were no findings of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or workplace bullying by Craig McLachlan or any other person on Doctor Blake”.

This will get interesting, though:

The Australian can reveal McLachlan has engaged prominent silk Stuart Littlemore, QC

If the matter proceeds to trial, McClymont will likely be cross-examined by Littlemore, with whom she has had a complicated relationship spanning more than 15 years

But, while McLachlan has been cleared by the Doctor Blake producers, the accusations regarding his behaviour on and offstage with The Rocky Horror Show remain unresolved. Still:

McLachlan issued a statement denying all the claims and suggesting the women who made them may have done so for money or “to gain notoriety” … McLachlan has said the claims against him are “to the best of his knowledge, utterly and entirely false”.

One of Australia’s most internationally-known actors is also taking legal action.

Actor Geoffrey Rush is suing Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph …

“The Daily Telegraph has made false, pejorative and demeaning claims – splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages,” he said. “This has created irreparable damage to my reputation, been extremely hurtful to my wife, my daughter and my son …”

The accusations against Rush are anonymous, vague, “inappropriate behaviour” and were apparently kept from his knowledge for 21 months. Nonetheless, Rush stepped down. He now says he was forced out of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA).

These two cases encapsulate the whole problem with the #MeToo “movement”.

Journalists at Melbourne’s The Herald Sun – also owned by [Daily Telegraph parent company] News Ltd – were told not to share the story on social media because it was “highly libellous.”

At the time the complaint was made, the complainant requested that the matter be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Mr Rush notified or involved in any investigation. STC complied, acting in the interest of the complainant’s health and welfare.

#MeToo has become a trial-by-media phenomenon overturning some of the fundamental norms of our justice system. The right to confront one’s accusers, the right to be informed of accusations, the presumption of innocence: nearly all have been swept aside in the #MeToo rush to judgment. Sometimes, as in McLachlan’s case, the accusers have at least been named and detailed claims made, but in others, like those of Geoffrey Rush or US comedian Aziz Ansari, the accusers have been anonymous, and the claims either unspecified or trivial.

And almost none of the claims against both have ever been tested.

If nothing else, by taking the legal action they have, McLachlan and Rush are forcing the #MeToo accusers to take their accusations to a court of law, not trial by media.

The Australian

Limelight


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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

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