The Ladies of One Tree Hill are sticking together.
On Monday, former cast and crew members for The CW drama — including Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Bethany Joy Lenz — penned a letter vocalizing their support for writer Audrey Wauchope who accused the show’s creator, Mark Schwahn, of sexual misconduct.
In case you missed it, over the weekend, the scriptwriter took to Twitter to detail the sexual harassment she and her writing partner, Rachel Specter, suffered while working with Schwahn on OTH. While Wauchope never specifically named Mark in her accusation on Twitter, it was later confirmed that she was speaking about the industry vet.
Bush and company have admitted to knowing of Schwahn’s unsavory behavior as they noted in their statement to Variety:
“Mark Schwahn’s behavior over the duration of the filming of One Tree Hill was something of an ├óΓé¼╦£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.”
How awful. Apparently, the women rallied together during this upsetting experience and would make sure to warn others who planned to join the show. The 18 OTH alums explained:
“We also understood that no one was fully unaware [of what was happening on the set]. 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.”
To make matters worse, the actresses and female crew claim they were threatened as they were told that if they spoke out the long-running hit would be canceled and HUNDREDS of people would lose their jobs. Smh.
The group continued:
“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 ├óΓé¼╦£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.”
Unsurprisingly, the OTH ladies are standing by Audrey during this controversy as they applauded the writer for her bravery. They concluded:
“They echo the greater rallying cry that must lead us to change: Believe Women. We are all in this together.”
Hear! Hear! Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty have also weighed in on this scandal. While Murray simply shared a comment by Burton and Bush, Lafferty released a lengthy note on the matter. He wrote:
As for Schwahn, while he’s the creator of The Royals, it’s said E!, Universal Cable Productions, and Lionsgate Television are “monitoring the information carefully.” Hmmm, sounds like Mark’s on thin ice!
[Image via PNP/WENN.]