Thu, 28 July 2022 at 11:01 am
Craig McLachlan has blamed the impact of “cancel culture” in the wake of sexual assault allegations for the fact he will not return in the upcoming Neighbours finale.
The actor played Henry Ramsay — brother of Kylie Minogue’s character Charlene — on the Australian soap between 1987 and 1989 and appeared in more than 800 episodes before jumping ship to rival show Home and Away.
McLachlan walked Minogue down the aisle in the show’s famous wedding episode, but will not join his on-screen sister and other returning cast members for the farewell special.
In a statement — reported via the Mirror — a spokeswoman for the 56-year-old actor said it was “devastating” when he was not invited to return for the finale.
“Henry’s dead mother is being reincarnated for the final episode, but cancel culture won’t allow her son Henry to appear or even be acknowledged,” the statement said.
McLachlan was accused of sexual harassment during a production of The Rocky Horror Show in 2014 and was subsequently cleared in 2020 by a magistrate of charges related to alleged assaults on four women.
In 2021, further allegations were made against the star by several actors, while British presenter Jeanne Downs claimed he groped her during a live segment on ITV in 1990.
McLachlan has denied the claims against him and said in relation to Downs that her allegation was “false, uncorroborated and never the subject of a complaint”.
In the new statement, McLachlan’s spokeswoman added: “What Craig and his partner have endured over the past four-and-a-half years — only to come out the other side and be confronted by, among other things, the attempted permanent erasing of his part in Neighbours history — is devastating.
“Craig was not invited to take part in the closing episode or indeed to contribute in any way to the end of Neighbours.”
McLachlan previously said in the wake of his acquittal that the sexual assault claims made against him had “ruined lives”.
He added: “Not just me. You want to crucify me? Fine. Look what it’s done to my beautiful partner. Look what it continues to do to my family every day.”
Neighbours is due to come to an end on 29 July with an hour-long special episode in which numerous faces from the show’s past will reprise their roles.
The show was cancelled in the wake of Channel 5’s decision to axe its lucrative UK rights deal in order to focus on more homegrown programming.
Channel controller Ben Frow said: “I could spend the money on other things, which is what I decided to do. I can better spend the Neighbours money on UK shows.”