One Tree Hill” cast and crew members have accused creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment in a letter published on Variety. The signees include six female crew members and 12 actresses who worked on the series, including leads Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Bethany Joy Lenz. The letter was published following a Twitter thread crew member Audrey Wauchope posted on Novemeber 11 in which she revealed frequent and unwanted touching by Schwahn, who she did not identify by name at the time.
“All of the female cast members of ‘One Tree Hill’ have chosen this forum to stand together in support of Audrey Wauchope and one another,” the open letter begins. “Mark Schwahn’s behavior over the duration of the filming of ‘One Tree Hill’ was something of an ‘open secret.’ Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally. More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress. Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be.”
The cast and crew say they were told during filming that going public with the sexual harassment allegations while the series was still on the air would “result in [the] show being canceled and hundreds of lovely, qualified, hard-working, and talented people losing their jobs.” “One Tree Hill” premiered in September 2003 and ran for nine seasons on The WB and The CW. The women admit that many of them have stayed silent until now because they wanted to protect the series for the fans.
“We [wanted] Tree Hill to remain the place ‘where everything’s better and everything’s safe’ for our fans; some of whom have said that the show quite literally saved their lives,” the letter states. “But the reality is, no space is safe when it has an underlying and infectious cancer. We have worked at taking our power back, making the conventions our own, and relishing in the good memories. But there is more work to be done.”
In response to the publication of the letter, many of the male stars on “One Tree Hill” have come forward on social media to stand with their former colleagues. James Lafferty, who starred as Nathan Scott for all nine seasons of the series, published a statement on
Twitter in which he wrote, “I applaud every woman on ‘OTH,’ every woman on earth, who stands up to a system that has failed them in the past and in this moment. I stand with them.”
The letter is signed by the following women: Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Danneel Harris, Michaela McManus, Kate Voegele, Daphne Zuniga, India DeBeaufort, Bevin Prince, Jana Kramer, Shantel Van Santen, Allison Munn, Audrey Wauchope, Rachel Specter, Jane Beck, Tarin Squillante, Cristy Koebley, and JoJo Stephens. Head over to
Variety to read the letter in its entirety.