'One Tree Hill' creator Mark Schwahn accused of sexual harassment

ANI | Updated: Nov 15, 2017 13:25 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 15 (ANI): Creator of American Drama 'One Tree Hill' Mark Schwahn has recently been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen of former cast and crew members of the series.

A total of 18 cast and crew members, including stars Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz, signed the letter in which they wrote that they "have chosen this forum to stand together in support of Audrey Wauchope and one another" following statements in which Audrey Wauchope, a former staff writer for the show accused Schwahn of harassment without naming him.

The statement acquired by The Hollywood Reporter read, "Mark Schwahn's behaviour 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."

The female members of the team said in the statement that they soon realised they had to handle the situation on their own.

"We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behaviour and how to handle it. To warn new women who joined our ranks. We understood that a lot of it was orchestrated in ways that kept it out of sight for the studio back home."

The women were reportedly told during the shooting of 'One Tree Hill' that coming forward to talk about this culture would result in the show's cancellation and many people would lose their jobs.

"This is not an appropriate amount of pressure to put on young girls. Many of us since have stayed silent publicly but had very open channels of communication in our friend group and in our industry."

"We have worked at taking our power back, making the conventions our own, and relishing in the good memories. But there is more work to be done," the statement further read.

'One Tree Hill' ran for nine seasons from 2003-12, first on The WB and then on The CW.

The letter was signed by:

Cast members: Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Danneel Harris, Michaela McManus, Kate Voegele, Daphne Zuniga, India DeBeaufort, Bevin Prince, Jana Kramer, Shantel Van Santen and Allison Munn.

Crew members: Audrey Wauchope, Rachel Specter, Jane Beck, Tarin Squillante, Cristy Koebley, JoJo Stephens.

Schwahn is currently showrunner on E!'s The Royals, which recently wrapped its fourth season. (ANI)