‘One Tree Hill’ Creator Mark Schwahn Accused by Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton of Sexual Misconduct

Mark Schwahn, creator of One Tree Hill, stands accused of sexual misconduct by television writer Audrey Wauchope and the female stars of the long-running series.

In a series of tweets published Saturday, among other allegations, Wauchope claims they were told Schwahn hired “female writers on the basis of their looks. That’s why you’re here – he wants to fuck you.”

“The staff sat on couches,” Wauchope writes, adding, “Female writers would try to get the spot where the showrunner wouldn’t sit as to not be touched. Often men would help out by sitting next to him, thus protecting the women.”

“Sometimes we wouldn’t luck out,” she says. And this is when unwanted touching allegedly occurred. “[H]e’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.”

Mark Schwahn and Hilarie Burton in One Tree Hill (Warner Bros. Television, 2003)

In a statement of support, all the female cast members of One Tree Hill (which ran for nine seasons from 2003 to 2012), including Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and over a dozen more women, wrote that Schwahn’s behavior was an “open secret” during the production:

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 the systemic 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, too 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.

Schwahn is currently the showrunner for The Royals for E!, and has not yet responded to the allegations.

 

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