Stage Actress Christie Browne Sues Oldfield Entertainment for $2M Over Alleged Discrimination

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In a dramatic pullback of the curtain into the world of show business, stage actress Christie Whelan Browne has initiated legal action against Oldfield Entertainment. Ms. Browne is seeking $2 million in compensation, alleging she was both discriminated against and victimised after voicing accusations of sexual harassment.

The lawsuit was filed in Sydney’s Federal Court, claiming that the stage company failed to abide by regulations outlined in the Sex Discrimination Act. Browne has alleged that during her nationwide performances with The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2014, the company did not provide a safe work environment.

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These allegations first emerged in unsealed court documents, wherein Browne detailed her experiences working alongside actor Craig McLachlan. However, Browne’s legal battle focuses not on McLachlan, but on Oldfield’s alleged inaction and poor treatment of her following the public airing of her accusations in 2018.

The lawsuit alludes to several instances where Browne claims she expressed disquiet about McLachlan’s behaviour to staff, but received little support. Browne has also accused the show’s director, John Frost, of not taking adequate action when she confided her fear of McLachlan to him.

Browne’s advocates cite multiple instances where Oldfield denied any knowledge of McLachlan’s alleged misconduct, which they describe as a “clear implication” that they view Browne’s allegations as false.

The court documents paint a portrait of a distressed and humiliated Browne, who allegedly sunk into anxiety and depression in the wake of a tempestuous defamation trial and media scrutiny.

Ms. Browne’s claims also touch upon professional misconduct, alleging she faced retribution in her subsequent career. Prior to landing a lead role, she contends that Oldfield expressed interest in casting her for another part but then discouraged her from accepting it.

Oldfield argues its position is compromised since many of the personnel implicated in the suit are no longer with the company. The firm also attempted to partially suppress Browne’s statement, fearing McLachlan could be embarrassed and unwilling to partake in court proceedings.

Despite these searing allegations, it’s worth noting that McLachlan has continually denied these accusations. He was acquitted of criminal charges in 2020 and the subsequent defamation trial was halted before crucial testimonies could be heard.

As this legal tug-of-war continues, Browne has also filed a claim with the Australian Human Rights Commission. However, this case was dropped after deemed an unlikely chance of reaching a conciliatory resolution.

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