Sex Toys And Porn Stars: Shocking New Details Emerge Of Another Charles Waterstreet Job Interview From Hell

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A black, two-pronged sex toy, an introduction to a porn star with the “biggest c*ck in Australia”, a discussion about her father’s genitals, pornography and talk of porn… that’s the detail that has emerged of another woman’s experience of being interviewed for a job by prominent Sydney barrister, Charles Waterstreet. And when she tried to turn discussion to the role she was applying for, she was told she ‘talks too much’. Chris Graham and Nina Funnell report.

Last year, New Matilda revealed that Charles Waterstreet – the real-life inspiration for the hit ABC show Rake – was the subject of explosive allegations of extreme sexual harassment of young women in his legal chambers.

The original claims were levelled by Tina Huang, then a 21-year-old University of Sydney law student who interviewed for an internship with Mr Waterstreet in October 2017. They included revelations that Ms Huang was shown a video by Mr Waterstreet of him being masturbated by two women. New Matilda later obtained a copy of the video, which confirmed Ms Huang’s claims.

A week after Ms Huang’s story broke, we published details of two other women who came forward to support Ms Huang’s allegations – former law clerk Genevieve Wilks (now a Melbourne-based lawyer) who worked for Mr Waterstreet for almost a year. Ms Wilks was subjected to a barrage of sexual harassment throughout her employment – on her first day at work she was given a copy of a book by Mr Waterstreet which featured him naked.

We also brought you the story of ‘Anita’, a young woman who, like Ms Huang, interviewed for a position in Mr Waterstreet’s chambers. At the time, we withheld ‘Anita’s’ identity – and much of the detail of her experience – at her request, because she feared the repercussions on her future legal career if her name ever surfaced.

Now, 11 months later, ‘Anita’ is speaking out publicly after joining a complaint to the NSW Bar Association lodged by activist group End Rape On Campus Australia*, on behalf of Ms Huang and Ms Wilkes. ‘Anita’ is Sarah Knight, aged 27, and a second-year law student, also at the University of Sydney.

The complaint, involving at least four separate women, is currently being considered by the Bar Association.

As part of the process, Ms Knight has sworn a statutory declaration, a copy of which has been obtained by New Matilda. It contains extraordinary details about the conduct of Mr Waterstreet in the course of the interview, held on the evening of September 20, 2017.

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Stat dec – Sarah Knight Proofed S

 

It also bears a striking resemblance to what Ms Huang endured during the course of her job interview, including being shown pornography, and being forced to discuss porn and sex parties.

Ms Knight’s experience, however, also included being shown a sex toy, a bottle of Viagra, and being asked about her father’s genitals. Unlike Ms Huang – who accepted a job, but lasted just three hours before quitting – Ms Knight believes in her case, there never really was any actual job on offer. When she tried to steer discussion towards the position and its responsibilities, she was told by Mr Waterstreet that she “talks a lot”.

When Ms Knight arrived at Mr Waterstreet’s Elizabeth Street chambers, she was ushered into a room with four other people, including a client who was introduced to Ms Knight by Mr Waterstreet as a porn star, with “the biggest cock in Australia”. 

Tina Huang, a 21-year-old law student who led the call out of Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet.

At the outset, Ms Knight says Mr Waterstreet was toying with a deeply upset client on the phone.

“Mr Waterstreet was taking a phone-call on loudspeaker when I entered. This phone call continued for approximately three minutes. The woman on the phone was a client. She was extremely distressed.

“She was talking about the police driving past her house (effectively she was saying she was under surveillance) and “zapping” her as she peaked through her bedroom blinds. She reiterated that she was sure it was the police who were “zapping” her, as they were always outside her house when the zaps occurred.

“Mr Waterstreet and the other people present began sniggering, then holding back laughter…. I was concerned and felt uncomfortable as, at first, I thought she was saying she had been shocked with a taser. It soon became apparent to me that she was likely mentally unwell.

“Mr Waterstreet continued to jibe her, asking if she had reported the ‘zapping’ to the police. She reported that she had spoken with an officer, but would not make a further complaint (she said something to the effect of being ‘done with the police not taking her seriously’). All the while through this, the group laughed.

Sydney Barrister Charles Waterstreet, who is facing serious allegations of sexual harassment.

“I felt very uneasy about this, the woman was clearly unwell and Mr Waterstreet took great pleasure in stroking her paranoia and getting a laugh at her expense. I assumed this was some kind of ‘test’.”

That issue of a ‘test’ – believing that her capacity to deal with the tougher aspects of a life inside criminal law was being tested – is precisely how Tina Huang describes her experience with Mr Waterstreet. Both responded to a job ad through the University of Sydney that warned they needed resolve and a strong stomach to work in Mr Waterstreet’s office. Neither, of course, understood that to mean they would be subjected to a barrage of sexual harassment.

“I had done my due diligence on Mr Waterstreet, believing I would be grilled on his legal career and had read of his charismatic, eccentric personality. I was by no means naïve to the outrageous comments he had made in the media, and through online platforms.

“I had read the articles claiming he only hired attractive women, his ‘Charlie’s Angels’, and that he wrote controversial off-colour articles for various news outlets.

“I was prepared to meet someone who was eccentric, ‘a character’. I was not prepared for the inappropriate behaviour that continued for the better part of 1.5 hrs.”

Ms Knight said discussion never really turned to the actual position she was applying for.

University of Sydney second year law student, Sarah Knight.

“The conversation was directed by Mr Waterstreet. This was my first interview for a legal position and I was anxious to talk about my passion for criminal law, and why he should hire me. We never had that conversation, as much as I tried.

“I never did find out what the job was. Mr Waterstreet never explained what he was looking for in a candidate, the job description, the days I would be working, nothing. It is now obvious to me, this was never a job interview, it was an opportunity for him to speak obscenities to an attractive young woman, and her – desperate for a job in an area she was passionate about – to sit back and take it.”

Instead, Mr Waterstreet turned the interview to ‘ethical porn’ – the same issue he had raised multiple times with Ms Huang a few weeks earlier.

“He asked me if I was familiar with this topic due to my [volunteer]work with ‘sex-slaves’ [via a charity]. I replied that I had majored in Gender Studies and was aware of the concept.

“He repeatedly told me he ‘loves women’ and words to the effect that he had recently become obsessed with this concept and was in the initial stages of producing ethical pornography. He then told me that he is representing ‘bikies’ in an upcoming criminal case, and that even though he knew ‘they were going to jail’ he wanted to hang on as long as he could so that he could film his planned ethical pornographic films in a strip club owned by his bikie clients.

“At this stage the conversation turned to Penthouse…. He proceeded to bring up [a]website on his desktop. He [opened]pornographic images and asked if I could see them. I didn’t want to look at them, so I told him that I had forgotten to put in my contact lenses and couldn’t see the screen. At this point, he picked up my CV and said, ‘You didn’t tell me you had a disability’. He then said something to the effect of ‘Well we can’t hire you’. He continued throughout the interview, to make jibes about me being blind, and how I didn’t mention this on my CV.”

Genevieve Wilks, who served as a paralegal for Charles Waterstreet for 10 months and endured extreme sexual harassment.

And then, Mr Waterstreet decided to up the ante… with props.

“Mr Waterstreet picked up a sex toy which was sitting in clear view on a shelf behind him…. It was a black vibrating toy. He asked me if I knew what it was. I said I did. He told me it had been sitting there for three years, and for the first time recently, a client had realised what it was and asked him why it was there. He laughed out loud.”

About a third of the way into the interview, Mr Waterstreet took a bathroom break with one of his male guests. They were gone for up to 10 minutes. When he returned, he pulled out more props.

“Mr Waterstreet rummaged through his briefcase and pulled out Viagra medication. He appeared horrified and said in a comedic way, ‘The police have planted Viagra on me, someone do something!’”

Discussion soon turned to Ms Knight’s parents – specifically her father’s genitals.

“Mr Waterstreet looked at my CV. He noticed I had said I was a ‘human-rights activist’ and a proud LGBTIQA supporter.

“Mr Waterstreet became very interested in this. He proceeded to inform me on a very detailed level about how when women undergo gender reassignment surgery they have a permanent erection and told me every technical detail about this process. He then asked me about my [father’s] genitals. I said I had supported my parent through the process and left it at that. Mr Waterstreet tried to get more details out of me.

Charles Waterstreet, pictured with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy Turnbull.

“[He] then picked up a magazine (I think it was Woman’s Day/Weekly) and pointed out an ex-girlfriend who featured in it. He took great pride in recalling how beautiful she was when he dated her and how, since then, she had become extremely ‘fat’ and ugly. He also spoke about how he loved it when girls who broke up with him would go travelling and ‘get fat’. He seemed to have a hatred of women who he had considered were not thin enough.

“At some point, after one of the many indecent comments, I said in a joking, but sarcastic manner, ‘So I assume there is a problem with sexual harassment in the workplace?’ Mr Waterstreet seemed totally caught off guard, and worried. He asked me what I meant and I laughed off my comment as a joke.

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“I continued to insist upon details of the job and talk about my professional abilities, in a bid to turn the conversation towards the actual job I had come for. Mr Waterstreet told me I ‘talk a lot’.

“He said I was hired to work pro-bono. At this point, [his assistant]interrupted him and said no, ‘She’s here for the paid job’. I began to think at this point, that there was no paid job and any chance I had working there was gone.

“Mr Waterstreet was very adamant I come in the following day to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding our interview. I said I could do this, but it would have to be in the morning as I was going overseas for charity work.

“He spoke a lot about the books he had written and as I left, insisted I take a copy of ‘Precious Bodily Fluids’. He then insisted he sign it, as I had gotten the job. He said he signed it ‘Welcome Aboard’. When I left I realised he had actually written ‘Welcome Abroad’. I knew this was not a mistake and that I had been duped, there was no job.”

Like Tina Huang, Ms Knight emerged from the interview dazed and confused. And like Ms Huang, she also messaged several friends to describe what had unfolded. Those messages corroborate significant details contained in Ms Knight’s statement, and some of what is also alleged by Ms Huang and Ms Wilks.

To one friend, she writes, “Was the WEIRDEST interview he got out a vibrator at one point”. She adds, “I think he was trying to psyche me out”, and then this: “He has it sitting on his desk and he was like ‘it’s been there for 3 years and not one client has noticed’.”

The friend replies, “OK, that’s fucked…” Ms Knight responds, “And was telling me all about the ethical porn movies he’s making”.

The friend replies, “Ok he’s fucked man. Please watch out lol.” Ms Knight texts, “Yea not sure if I’ll take the job to be honest. But really want the experience. Just not that experience.”

After consulting with her father – who agreed the behaviour was so bizarre it must be a test – Ms Knight sent a follow-up email the next day, writing: “It was a pleasure to meet you (and your tribe) yesterday! It was certainly the most fun I’ve ever had in an interview! I would love to be a part of the team, and hope [to]hear from you soon.”

“I was really torn. I really wanted a job, but I was also very confused by his behaviour. Would this be a daily thing in the office or was this just a test? With the benefit of hindsight, it clearly is the way Charles Waterstreet conducts himself, and when I saw Tina’s story, the penny dropped for me. He’s a predator.”

In any event, Ms Knight never heard from Mr Waterstreet again.

Genevieve Wilks, who worked for Mr Waterstreet for almost a year, has confirmed that he would often spend afternoons “interviewing” as a means to to meet attractive young women, when there was no job available.

New Matilda has spoken to two other women who have applied for jobs with Mr Waterstreet as paralegals. One woman was allegedly told that the job would include giving Mr Waterstreet massages. The other said that the interview was very sexualised and flirtatious (from his end, not from hers).

FOR his part, Mr Waterstreet continues to a live a very public, and apparently chaotic, life. After shutting down his social media in the wake of the original allegations, he’s re-opened it… and continues to publish rambling, sometimes incoherent posts featuring naked or semi-naked women.

Waterstreet has also adopted the hashtag ‘#meme’ – an apparent shot at the #metoo movement – in most of his posts featuring women.

He does, however, appear to have closed his seekingarrangements.com profile – a website where older men seek relationships with young women in exchange for financial support.

Last year, Mr Waterstreet had two profiles on Seeking Arrangements – one listed his net worth as $10 million, the other at $5 million. Both profiles claimed his annual income was $1 million.  

It’s clearly a grossly misleading claim – earlier this year, Mr Waterstreet entered into voluntary bankruptcy after a hearing in which the Australian Tax Office detailed he owed more than $400,000 in back taxes over several years, suggesting his claimed income (and worth) on Seeking Arrangements was wildly overstated.

The publicity, and the Tax Office, doesn’t appear to have stunted his legal practice however, at least not in the hiring department.

In June, after being banned by Sydney university from advertising for interns – the process through which Tina Huang and Sarah Knight came into contact with him (Ms Wilks met him through UNSW, which refused to ban his advertising) – Mr Waterstreet has instead begun advertising on commercial sites.

He appears to have at least learned that lesson – the ad no longer warns prospective candidates they need a strong stomach, instead promising them a “unique opportunity working closely with clients on interesting, high vis, and challenging cases in a fast-paced and rewarding environment”.

Mr Waterstreet does, however, still appear to be searching for an assistant to help him with his ethical porn projects. Part of the job description reads a “highly desirable but not essential” quality in a candidate would be “passion for various creative expressions such as film and culture”.

The Bar Association complaint against Mr Waterstreet is expected to be finalised some time later this year.

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* Nina Funnell is a Director of End Rape On Campus Australia.

DO YOU HAVE INFORMATION TO SHARE? You can contact the authors of this article by email by clicking here for Nina Funnell, or here for Chris Graham. You can phone Nina on 0438 479 831 or Chris on 0407 555 328. Nina tweets here and Chris Facebooks here, and tweets here.

Nina Funnell & Chris Graham

NINA FUNNELL is a freelance journalist, author and advocate against gender based violence. Nina has been awarded a Walkley Our Watch award, the United Nations Australia Media Award and an Edna Ryan Media Award for her sustained reporting on sexual assault and institutional cover up. CHRIS GRAHAM is a Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist, and the editor and owner of New Matilda.

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