In a poignant display of solidarity, 18 former cast and crew members of the teen drama One Tree Hill have published a letter in Variety accusing showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment. The show’s stars, Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Hilarie Burton were among the authors.
“Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” they wrote in the letter. “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.”
On Saturday, November 11th, Audrey Wauchope, a former writer for One Tree Hill tweeted allegations of sexual harassment on set. Wauchope did not name Schwahn, but she identified the abuser as the first showrunner she worked for as a full-time writer. Schwahn was identified by name in the letter Wauchope’s coworkers published verifying her claims.
Wauchope tweeted that the showrunner invited her writing partner, Rachel Specter, into his office, asking that she not go through with her wedding so that he could date her. She also wrote that he would touch female cast and crew members inappropriately and that he showed naked photos of a woman he was seeing to men on set.
Sometimes we wouldn't luck out and he'd just squeeze his disgusting body in between us and put his arms around us, grinning. He pet hair. He massaged shoulders. I know he did more but not to me so they're not my stories to share.— Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017
Moving on. Men on staff were shown naked photos of on an actress he was having an affair with. Naked photos she didn't know were being passed around . Naked photos they didn't want to see. This is such a violation,both to the actress and to the men forced to look and participate— Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017
Moving on. The day before my writing partner left for her wedding he closed the door of his office and asked her if she really wanted to go through with it. Maybe he could have a shot? Hahahaha we said. That's crazy. He's crazy. NO. He's abusive.— Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017
As more allegations surface against men in power, it’s important to stand by women and men who say they’ve been abused. Wauchope said it best when she tweeted, “there are trickle down psychological effects to all this bullshit and the town is littered with the collateral damage of abusers who have been given free reign. If you’re sitting in one of those staffs, please know whatever you are feeling is real.”
I write all this to say that there are trickle down psychological effects to all this bullshit and the town is littered with the collateral damage of abusers who have been given free reign. If you're sitting on one of these staffs please know whatever you are feeling is real.— Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017
It’s infuriating to hear about harassment happening on one of our formative teen shows, but it gives us strength to see the cast and crew band together to make sure that the victims’ voices are heard.