ABC responds to Seven claims in McLachlan special

ABC claims Seven selectively edited raw footage, as a crew member recalls stage show proceedings.

ABC has responded to Seven’s Spotlight report last week in which footage of 7:30 producers appeared to coach women in their allegations against actor Craig McLachlan.

Producers could be heard asking for more succinct takes on their claims while reporter Lorna Knowles said: “I don’t think we should be putting words into her mouth to some extent.”

Seven producer Mark Llewellyn claimed the women were “coached” and that there was “clear evidence of words being put in (their) mouths”.

“The ABC rejects these claims. They are also offensive to the women who stepped forward to tell their stories,” ABC in a statement.

ABC claimed Seven had selectively edited raw footage and used brief grabs without full context from almost hour-long interview with one of three women.

“The unedited footage shows the interviewee was asked to repeat in a more succinct way statements she had already made on-camera. This is a normal television industry practice in some cases to ensure content is presented in a clear way for viewers,” said ABC.

“At the time of the original story the ABC offered Mr McLachlan the opportunity of an interview, sent him detailed questions and ran his responses extensively.”

McLachlan told Spotlight he was given limited notice before the joint ABC / Fairfax allegations were published.

Last night Spotlight introduced a new witness from the Rocky Horror Show stage crew who, in a brief exchange, cleared McLachlan over one of the various allegations.

In December McLachlan was cleared of all 13 charges with magistrate Belinda Wallington also noting “brave and honest witnesses.”

A defamation case against ABC and Nine (formerly Fairfax) is still pending.