One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn accused of sexual harassment by cast members and crew

FP Staff

Nov,15 2017 13:31 24 IST

The slew of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood biggies are only multiplying. The recent addition to the long list of offenders in showbiz is Mark Schwahn, creator of the hit show One Tree Hill that premiered on The WB in 2003 and later on The CW from 2006-2012.

On 11 November, one of the writers on the show, Audrey Wauchope, in an array of tweets, wrote about how Schwahn (who she referred to as 'showrunner') harassed women (cast and crew) on the sets. She posted:

One Tree Hill cast members. Image via Facebook

One Tree Hill female cast members: Sophia Bush (from left), Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy. Image via Facebook

After her tweets, the women cast members from the show — Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy — wrote a letter which was carried by Variety in one of its pieces. The letter read:

"To Whom It May Concern,

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. To use terminology that has become familiar as thesystemic reality of sexual harassment and assault has come more and more to light, 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. Many of us were spoken to in ways that ran the spectrum from deeply upsetting, to traumatizing, to downright illegal. And a few of us were put in positions where we felt physically unsafe. More than one woman on our show had her career trajectory threatened.

The through line in all of this was, and still is, our unwavering support of and faith in one another. We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behavior and how to handle it. To warn new women who joined our ranks. We understood that a lot of it was orchestrated in ways that kept it out of sight for the studio back home. We also understood that no one was fully unaware. The lack of action that has been routine, the turning of the other cheek, is intolerable. We collectively want to echo the calls of women everywhere that vehemently demand change, in all industries.

Many of us were told, during filming, that coming forward to talk about this culture would result in our show being canceled and hundreds of lovely, qualified, hard-working, and talented people losing their jobs. This is not an appropriate amount of pressure to put on young girls. Many of us since have stayed silent publicly but had very open channels of communication in our friend group and in our industry, because we want 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. 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.

We are all deeply grateful for Audrey’s courage. For one another. And for every male cast mate and crew member who has reached out to our group of women to offer their support these last few days. They echo the greater rallying cry that must lead us to change: Believe Women. We are all in this together.

With Love and Courage,

The Cast,

Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Danneel Harris, Michaela McManus, Kate Voegele, Daphne Zuniga, India DeBeaufort, Bevin Prince, Jana Kramer, Shantel Van Santen, and Allison Munn

And Brave Crew,

Audrey Wauchope, Rachel Specter, Jane Beck, Tarin Squillante, Cristy Koebley, JoJo Stephens

And All the rest of the Women We Worked With Who Are Finding Their Voices as We Speak"

In response to the letter, several male co-stars came forward to give the actresses their backing.

One Tree Hill cast: Image via Facebook

One Tree Hill male cast members: James Lafferty (from left), Lee Norris, Antwon Tanner. Image via Facebook

James Lafferty, who played Nathan Scott, tweeted a message, saying: "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."

Noting that many people involved with the show "embody the virtues of the story we were trying to tell", he added that he hopes to add "change" to that list of virtues.

Bush shared a message from Lee Norris, who played Marvin ‘Mouth' McFadden, thanking him for his words.

"Much love to our brother bear Lee Norris, who has always been supportive. He's one of the good ones too," Bush wrote.

Norris noted that the ladies of the show are "more than capable of speaking for themselves", and added, "These are not my stories to tell, but I wanted to voice my complete support of them".

Antwon Tanner, who played Antwon ‘Skills' Taylor, tweeted: "To my sisters/all the women of OTH that have come forward and showed their bravery. I want you to know that I love you and I support you."

Austin Nichols, who played Julian Baker, tweeted: "I stand with all my OTH sisters. We have to change. We have to be better. All of us. This is unacceptable."

Actor Robert Buckley, who played Clay Evans, wrote: "To the women of OTH that have come forward and bravely used their voices, I want you to know I believe you, I respect you and I support you."

Bryan Greenberg, who played Jake Jaglieski, was "shocked and saddened to hear what the women of OTH had to endure", and supports them "fully", reports etonline.com.

Stephen Colletti, who appeared as Chase Adams on the show, tweeted: "I want to acknowledge the women of OTH who have penned their letter with deep wounds from a culture unacceptable for anyone, at any age, and in any business. I have the utmost respect of your position in righting the wrongs you have endured. I stand for you, for better."

(With inputs from IANS)