Former Olympic swimmer Susie O’Neill has alleged that celebrity gardener Don Burke sexually harassed her in the led up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The incident, believed to occur while Burke was filming at O’Neill’s home in Brisbane, involved him making a comment about one of her favourite artworks using explicit sexual innuendo.
“It was crude and it was belittling,” O’Neill told Fairfax Media.
Her former manager, Nick Cummins, says O’Neill was “intimidated” his behaviour at the time.
Former crew members have also confirmed O’Neill’s account of the incident.
Burke, who was one of the biggest stars on Australian TV in the 1990’s, has denied numerous allegations made by former female staff of his production company, claiming the allegations are coming from ex-employees with a grudge.
Cummins says he worked to try and pull the episode, but Nine refused, saying said O’Neill was contracted to the network.
On channel Nine’s A Current Affair program on Monday night, Burke said the recent allegations had been fuelled by social media and the “witch hunt” had been stirred up “because of the Harvey Weinstein thing”.
“Some of those things that I’m supposed to have said are absolutely despicable. I wouldn’t say those things to other people and if I said I didn’t say them, I didn’t say them,” he said.
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