- The Washington Times
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Eighteen female cast and crew members from the former hit drama series “One Tree Hill” have accused the show’s creator, Mark Schwahn, of sexual harassment.

The cast members and crew — including stars Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz — wrote a joint letter Monday in support of Audrey Wauchope, a former writer on the series who was the first to come out against Mr. Schwahn.

Ms. Wauchope, who currently works on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” wrote in a series of tweets Saturday that the “One Tree Hill” showrunner subjected the cast and crew to frequent unwanted touching and psychological abuse.

Seventeen more women signed an open letter corroborating Ms. Wauchope’s story, saying many of them felt physically unsafe around Mr. Schwahn.

“Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” they wrote. “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 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,” they continued. “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.”

In a statement Monday to Variety, E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television — the companies behind Mr. Schwahn’s current show, “The Royals” — said, “We are monitoring the information carefully. E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television are committed to providing a safe working environment in which everyone is treated respectfully and professionally.”

A representative for Mr. Schwahn did not return requests for comment from CNN or Entertainment Weekly.

“One Tree Hill” aired on the WB from 2003 to 2006 and on the CW from 2006 to 2012, Variety reported.

Several men on the show, including Chad Michael Murray, Bryan Greenberg, Austin Nichols, and James Lafferty, have come out in support of the women.

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