One Tree Hill showrunner terrorized, assaulted cast and crew, 18 women confirm

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Late last week the news came out that Supergirl showrunner, Andrew Kreisberg, was suspended following sexual harassment claims by 19 people, 15 women and 4 men, who spoke to Variety. Kreisberg is responsible for creating Supergirl along with The CW’s Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist along with Arrow’s Emily Bett Rickards and The Flash’s Grant Gustin have issued general statements about sexual assault and abuse in their industry following Kreisberg’s suspension. (You can read those through the links on each of their names.) I especially liked Rickard’s tweet which put it so succinctly and well. “To the men who committed sexual harassment, who perpetuated rape culture, who turn a ‘blind eye,’ and complain about ‘reverse sexism’: You are weak and complicit. To the women who found the strength to speak up, to the women who supported one another and to the women finding their voice: You can. You are heroines.

All this comes to mind as I read about another showrunner, One Tree Hill’s Mark Schwahn, who groped, emotionally and physically abused his cast, co-workers and writers. He said disgusting things to the women and men and psychologically traumatized just about everyone. This news came out in a series of powerful tweets by writer Audrey Wauchope, a staff writer at One Tree Hill. She didn’t name Schwahn, just described his horrible and abusive behavior. She also didn’t blame the men who witnessed it, writing that they were victims of abuse as well. You can read her tweets at this link in their entirety and here’s an excerpt. Wauchope wrote that the Kreisberg case encouraged her to speak out.

One of the 1st things we were told was that the showrunner 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. 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 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.

Moving on. Men on staff were shown naked photos of on an actress he was having an affair with. Naked photos she didn’t know were being passed around . Naked photos they didn’t want to see. This is such a violation,both to the actress and to the men forced to look and participate

He’s a man in a position of power who was allowed to run a television show for years where this behavior continuously went on. I don’t blame the men on that staff – I truly believe they were also in a way victims of psychological abuse and didn’t know what to do.

[From Audrey Wauchope on Twitter]

Wauchope went on to tweet that there was a sexual harassment meeting for staff but of course Schwahn did not attend. She wrote “The town is littered with the collateral damage of abusers who have been given free reign.

In support of Wauchope, 18 women who were cast and crew of One Tree Hill confirmed her account on the record with their names. They named the showrunner as Schwahn, and gave additional information about the trauma and abuse they were subjected to. They write that they formed a kind of camaraderie and looked out for each other to make sure that other women were protected. I have to cut their statement down for space but please read it at Variety as the whole thing is incredible. One Tree Hill ran from 2003 to 2012.

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, to 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.

The through line in all of this was, and still is, our unwavering support of and faith in one another. We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behavior 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. We also understood that no one was fully unaware. The lack of action that has been routine, the turning of the other cheek, is intolerable. We collectively want to echo the calls of women everywhere that vehemently demand change, in all industries…

With Love and Courage,

The Cast,

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

And Brave Crew,

Audrey Wauchope, Rachel Specter, Jane Beck, Tarin Squillante, Cristy Koebley, JoJo Stephens

And All the rest of the Women We Worked With Who Are Finding Their Voices as We Speak

[From Variety]

I read this and am now in tears for these women, for what they went through and for their bravery and strength in speaking out. James Lafferty, Austin Nichols, and Stephen Colletti of OTH also tweeted their support. As these incredible women wrote, I hope we’re witnessing a watershed moment in Hollywood and in so many other industries where abusive men in power are being called out for the predators they are and are rightfully losing their positions. Schwahn is the creator and showrunner for The Royals, which has been renewed for a fourth season at E! and is currently in production, judging by their Facebook page. FIRE HIM. REPLACE HIM.

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32 Responses to “One Tree Hill showrunner terrorized, assaulted cast and crew, 18 women confirm”

  1. Sara says:

    In the midst of all this horror and pain, I find some solace in thinking of the women who have warned me, protected me, counseled me, supported me, and been the professional and personal support I needed.

    This solidarity between women is beautiful to watch.

    Everything else is garbage.

  2. HH says:

    “Schwahn is the creator and showrunner for The Royals.” My god. Between this, Trump being elected president, Sean Spicer and Corey Lewandowski becoming Visiting Fellows at Harvard, Woody Allen still making films (and the list goes on), I truly wonder what it’s like to be a white man who can only fail up.

  3. Skittlebrau says:

    Wasn’t Chris Pratt on One Tree Hill too? I wonder if he’s going to chime in.

  4. happyoften says:

    It is both heatbreaking and uplifting. These women were walking a minefield everyday and, knowing there would be no support from higher ups, held out hands to help one another through it.

    I am glad a light is being shed, and hopeful that other dark places will be illuminated. But holy hell, this rabbit hole goes all the way down. What is wrong with these men that they believe traumatizing women is acceptable? It isn’t just one or two bad apples… half the bushel is just rotten to the core. And how do you fix that?

    An aside… what is going on at the CW? This is like the 3rd story this week….

  5. ell says:

    i grew up with one tree hill, and it was well known even back then that the showrunner was gross and just generally unpleasant. so proud of all these actresses i loved when i was a teen for finally being able to stand up about it.

  6. Sammayyye says:

    Good Lord this is horrifying to read. But hats off to this strong group of women for their solidarity.

    I am strongly disturbed that Lafferty has been working on the Royals though.

  7. OSTONE says:

    OTH was and still is my escape when I needed it! So horrified and disappointed, however, beautiful to see Sophia, Hilarie, Bethany Joy et all standing together with the writers and the rest of the cast and crew. James Lafferty has been a forever crush of mine and I am so disappointed that he kept working with Mark.

  8. JoJo says:

    I wonder if this is why Hilarie left OTH before its final season. The details on ‘why’ always seemed vague and fuzzy to me, and she was always somewhat circumspect about it.

    • Sway says:

      I am now pretty sure that’s why she did it and that’s why she didn’t return for the final shoots of the show for a cameo. She taped a video message to the fans and that was it. Hilarie has implied though that she has suffered pretty serious PTSD after all Schwahn put her through and had to do therapy for many years. She posted a “Me too” photo on Instagram where she wrote it on her hand and the caption said “It really leaves a mark”. When the accusations toward Schwahn surfaced, someone asked her about that caption and if she tried to give away something with it (mark = Mark Schwahn). She responded that she always carefully choses her words, so she basically confirmed it.
      I really think Hilarie is the one Schwahn was most obsessed with. You could tell even from her plot lines. She was the one who at one point was to be raped while still in high school (by the psycho fake brother) and this whole plot line was so disturbing. She was also the only one who shot scenes with Schwahn – he played Max, the musical shop owner. I remember after watching the scenes with him and her commenting to my boyfriend that you could just tell he was in love and borderline obsessed with her. You could just tell.
      I wonder what the creep did and I’m sure it was enough to force her to deal with the aftermath to this day. Stay strong, Hilarie!
      I love and admire all the women of OTH and I stand with them. This was my favorite show growing up, still is. It has walked me through some pretty dark times. It was magic. And the darkness of one man could never put the light and magic out.

  9. freewhitebaby7.0 says:

    Look closely at the second picture. You can see his arm between him and the actress, and if you look his hand is apparently resting on her hip. She has it covered up with her purse. If you look at her eyes and body language, her discomfort and attempt to distance herself from that perv is so, so obvious.

  10. Lucy says:

    They are ALL going down. Every single one of them. The women they tried to break are fighting back, hard.

  11. serena says:

    CALL THEM ALL OUT!

    I’m so glad the cast and crew is standing beside Wauchope, it made me tear up.

  12. Moxylady says:

    Danneel Harris is married to Jensen Ackles. I wonder if SPN is going to say something / hey involved. That is one awesome / intense fandom.

  13. InsertNameHere says:

    OTH was filmed near me, and there were whispers about this for quite a while. The fact that the show was an anchor of a small town film industry makes this even more disgusting – it’s not like the crew could just jump to another production easily. It was one of the most sought after gigs in N.C. film.

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