The One Tree Hill family has come together after female cast and crew members of the CW show released a statement in support of writer Audrey Wauchope. Wauchope, a former writer for the long-running show, posted to social media about her experiences with sexual harassment during her first job as a television writer, but she did not name One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn in her post. Instead, Wauchope accused an unnamed showrunner of inappropriately touching female members of his staff and showing off nude photos of his actress girlfriend in the early days of her career in television.
“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,” Wauchope wrote.
“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.”
While the former One Tree Hill writer didn’t name the show or the boss, series stars Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and 15 more women did as they released a lengthy joint statement in support of Wauchope’s claims. The stars alleged that Schwahn manipulated many of them “psychologically and emotionally” and that several of them are “still in treatment for post-traumatic stress,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In a series of tweets, Hilarie Burton revealed she has been angry about the harassment for a decade.
“Today, my sisters take back what was rightfully ours,” she wrote.
Co-star Sophia Bush tweeted she is proud to call the women from One Tree Hill her family.
In the aftermath of the bombshell statement about Schwahn—which was signed by 18 One Tree Hill stars and crew members, including Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Danneel Harris, Michaela McManus, Kate Voegele, Daphne Zuniga, India de Beaufort, Bevin Prince, Jana Kramer, Shantel Van Santen, and Allison Munn and staff members Audrey Wauchope, Rachel Specter, Jane Beck, Tarin Squillante, Cristy Koebley, and JoJo Stephens — many more alums from the show joined the women in support.
While Schwan’s alleged behavior was regarded as “an open secret” on the set of the show, some of the male alums seemed caught off guard by the news. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, series star Chad Michael Murray said the women from the show have always been “strong and incredible.”
“Today they’ve made us all even more proud by standing as a beacon of what is right, and continuing to lead & change the atmosphere of society,” Murray said, in part.
“I stand with all the those who have suffered & pray that this evil will meet its demise in the strength of this movement. OTH Women- I’m so dang proud of you.”
In addition to Murray, One Tree Hill stars Lee Norris, James Lafferty, Austin Nichols, Bryan Greenburg, and Stephen Colletti all took to social media to join their female co-stars in support. Lee Norris posted a statement to say that while the women have spoken for themselves, he offers them his full support. Bush responded that Norris has always been “one of the good ones.”
In addition, Austin Nichols pledged to stand behind his “OTH sisters.”
“We have to change,” he wrote. “We have to be better. All of us. This is unacceptable.”
Stephen Colletti, the former Laguna Beach-star-turned actor, revealed he has the “utmost respect” for his wronged co-stars, while actor James Lafferty penned a lengthy tribute to the women who stood up to a system that has failed them in the past.
In addition to the actors, former One Tree Hill writer Mike Daniels posted a message of support to his wife Michaela McManus and the rest of the women who spoke out.
“I stand with my incredible wife and all the women of OTH. You are stronger than we ever wrote you. It’s time to listen and be better,” Daniels wrote.
You can read reactions from the men of One Tree Hill below.
One Tree Hill debuted on the WB in September of 2003 and ran for nine seasons, concluding on the CW in May of 2012. Mark Schwahn has not yet commented on the allegations about his behavior on the One Tree Hill set.
Take a look at the video below to see a One Tree Hill table read with Mark Schwahn.
[Featured Image by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images]