Craig McLachlan was loved by everyone in the entertainment industry until he was shunned after media reports accused the actor of sexual assault and harassment, a jury has been told.
"I was fearing the worst," said multifaceted performer Daniel Thompson, who became the second witness to testify to worrying that the actor could take his life.
Describing McLachlan as "a very sensitive person", Thompson said he had been very worried the reports would destroy his friend.
Thompson, whose stage name is Danny Tesla, was giving evidence on Thursday at the NSW Supreme Court defamation lawsuit brought by McLachlan against the ABC, Fairfax and actress Christie Whelan Browne.
The January 2018 articles accused the actor of touching, kissing and groping actresses without permission in The Rocky Horror Show, Neighbours, City Homicide, and The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
The award-winning performer agreed he had brought sexual jokes and pranks to The Rocky Horror Show, including deep-throating bananas and masturbating crew members' arms.
But he has denied the allegations in the publications, and has accused Whelan Browne and two other women of approaching the media for notoriety or money.
Thompson told the jury that up until about 2017 McLachlan had a very good reputation and was incredibly successful.
"In the industry everyone loved him including myself," he said.
But after the publications, he became very worried that McLachlan would take his own life.
The actor even told him: "One day I will have to tell you a funny story about an attempted suicide".
"It could easily have gone that way," Thompson said.
"I could tell this had shattered him."
McLachlan also was shocked the way the Industry turned its back on him including people who wouldn't even talk to him again.
Thompson denied he was disparaging about Whelan Browne and others when he tweeted that the "victims" were not asked back to do the 2017 Rocky Horror production.
He denied he was suggesting they were making up their claims because they weren't invited back, saying he had not named anyone and at the time believed they were not asked back to the show.
Boom operator Jenny Pearson, who worked with McLachlan on some of the Doctor Blake series, said he had a wonderful reputation.
He was very pleasant, welcoming, friendly, fun and hard working.
"In my circle you have never heard a bad word about Craig," she said.
She was asked about seeing him with bananas on the set.
"It was a bit of a sight gag," she said.
"It was a very inoffensive gag.
"I saw Craig standing there with a banana."
Asked what made her think it was a joke as people eat bananas all the time, she said she had heard people laughing.
McLachlan's case finished on Thursday and the defendants will begin calling their witnesses on Friday.
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Australian Associated Press
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