Teacher de-registered over ‘casting couch’ claims

A QUEENSLAND drama teacher has had his registration cancelled after telling two male year 12 students about "casting couch'' situations in which young actors had to perform sex acts to get acting roles.

The teacher allegedly told the students about sex acts he had performed in order to get acting roles, including giving oral sex, a tribunal heard.

One student claimed the teacher referred the need to "strap your knee pads on'', while the other student said the teacher spoke of giving "blow jobs'', which the teacher denied, and told stories of sex favours and male celebrities.

Both students said they felt uncomfortable and thought the comments were weird, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

The teacher admitted to discussing his own sexuality, how it felt to be in a relationship with a man and his marriage, "in a supportive way''.

He admitted referring to the need to be aware of the casting couch, and "in a blokey way'' said some directors expected emerging actors to invest in a pair of knee pads.

The teacher said he had been a victim of this when he was a young director and he asked the two students and a tutor what they would do.

During a disciplinary hearing, the teacher admitted much of what was said, but denied offering to buy the students knee pads and the tribunal said there was no clear evidence he did so.

One student claimed the teacher spoke explicitly to him about his own sexual experiences, feelings and desires and described homosexual sex and asked the student whether he wanted to have experiences with boys.

The teacher told the boy he would listen and not tell anyone and asked the student to keep the conversation a secret, it was alleged.

The student told the teacher he had a girlfriend. The tribunal accepted the student's version of the conversation.

"It is unclear as to why (the teacher) felt qualified to engage in such a conversation, given the uncertain impact it might have on the student,'' a senior tribunal member said.

The tribunal accepted the evidence of the students and the tutor that the language used was 'highly inappropriate' and that they felt uncomfortable.

The teacher said he could now see it was inappropriate.

He said he discussed one student's sexuality in the context of helping him to understand how he would portray a gay character.

The tribunal member said the teacher tended to downplay what occurred and what was

said and the tone and manner of its delivery.

The tribunal found that the teacher inappropriately shared personal information with students in relation to his divorce and issues concerning his family members.

The teacher denied a claim that he helped one of the students to dress or undress, touching him on the thigh and saying he had "a very big bulge''.

The tribunal did not accept that the allegation had been made out.

It also did not accept allegations that the teacher joked about oral sex during drama classes or told a student to take his shirt off during an audition, in order to be accepted.

On June 17, the tribunal cancelled the teacher's registration, barring him from applying for registration or permission to teach before October 23.

Before his registration can be reinstated, the teacher must give Queensland College of Teachers a psychological report.

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