Actor Craig McLachlan is seeking $6.5 million in damages from the ABC, Fairfax Media and Christie Whelan Browne, as part of his defamation trial against the publishers and actress.
The request was heard by a Sydney court earlier this week and according to ABC News, the figure of $6.5 million was first given during a pre-trial hearing.
McLachlan is currently suing the ABC and Fairfax Media after it published reports in January that detailed the 52-year-old had sexually harassed female colleagues from the 2014 stage production of The Rocky Horror Show.
The actor is also suing Whelan Browne, who spoke to the organisations and performed the lead role of Janet in the show.
The $6.5 million claim follows news three more women had come forward claiming the actor had “inappropriately touched” and “kissed” them.
The women said McLachlan had harassed them during the filming of ABC’s production of the Doctor Blake Mysteries.
According to the women, McLachlan’s harassment was “mostly verbal” and “there is one unwanted kiss and one instance of inappropriate touching”.
It has now been revealed one of the women to face court is actress Anna Samson.
Speaking to court, Tom Blackburn SC, barrister for the media outlets and Whelan Browne, said: “The allegation is that [McLachlan] put his hand on Samson’s buttock during the filming of a scene.”
Meanwhile, the barrister representing McLachlan, Matthew Richardson, said in defense of the actor: “We would want to find the footage [of the scene] and once we find the footage we would want to find out who was present to check [the allegation’s] consistency.”
He added: “There are real issues of prejudice here.”
The trial is scheduled to continue this afternoon, Wednesday, 28 November.
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