Lust: TV star accused of sexual harassment

The television saga <i>Lost</i> is spawning a saga of its own in the courts as one of its top stars is accused of sexual harassment, reports Richard Osley
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The Independent Online

As a wavy-haired shipwreck victim with an enduring love story and mysterious past, Desmond Hume has proved one of the most popular characters of the award-winning television saga Lost.

So much so that when Desmond made only the odd appearance in the second series of the famously elaborate drama, its writers received petitions from fans imploring them to "keep the sexy Scot".

But, according to a former colleague, the man who brought the character to life was one of the last people in the world she would have wanted to be washed up with on a desert island.

Chelsea Stone is reported to have filed a legal suit in the United States against Henry Ian Cusick, the actor who played Desmond, accusing him of sexual harassment. She worked for ABC, the American network which produces Lost, for 10 years before running into Mr Cusick, 42, on one of the idyllic sets used for the blockbuster series.

Ms Stone claims that he fondled her during an incident in October 2007, caressing her back while "making moaning sounds", and later kissing her on the lips. She also accused him of touching her buttocks and breasts.

She is bringing a claim against ABC, too, which she accuses of not taking adequate action over her allegations. Ms Stone said when she told a supervisor on the set about Mr Cusick's alleged harassment, she was told to stay away from the actor before being sacked altogether 12 days later.

The incident left her feeling physically sick and emotionally distressed, her legal claim adds, although the amount of money she is seeking in compensation was not included in paperwork submitted to a court in Los Angeles on Friday.

While he has appeared in 24 and the movie Hitman, Mr Cusick's best-known work is as Desmond, famous for his brooding, will-they-won't-they love affair with Penny, played by Sonya Walger, and the catchphrase "See you in the next life, brother".

His occasional appearances in the second series won him a nomination for an Emmy and he went on to more extensive storylines in the third. The series is now six seasons old and is one of the world's most extravagantly produced and expensive television programmes to make, with exotic island locations and a huge cast.

After growing up in several countries including Scotland, Peru, Spain and Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Cusick settled in Oahu in Hawaii – close to where much of the filming for Lost takes place – with his wife and three sons. Neither Mr Cusick's agents nor ABC would comment on the case yesterday.