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.
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.
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.”
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.