On Monday night, female cast and crew members of One Tree Hill penned an open letter accusing creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment. The letter, which was signed by 18 women who worked on the show — including lead actresses Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Hilarie Burton — and shared with publications, came in response to former One Tree Hill writer Audrey Wauchope’s Saturday tweets about a toxic work environment where a showrunner “hired female writers on the basis of their looks” and made unwanted physical advances toward her. Wauchope’s tweets did not publicly name the series or Schwahn.
The letter from cast and crew members backed Wauchope’s claims and applauded her courage, offering more details of the environment that apparently persisted under Schwahn. “Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” the letter read. “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.”
After the letter was publicized, male members of the cast, including Bryan Greenberg, Austin Nichols, and James Lafferty, offered their support over Twitter, while other women who worked on the show but did not sign the letter echoed similar sentiments.
In response to the allegations against Schwahn, E!, Lionsgate Television, and Universal Cable Productions — which produce his current series on E!, The Royals — released a statement saying they are “monitoring the information carefully.” Schwahn has yet to address the accusations.