One Tree Hill cast and crew accuse Mark Schwahn of sexual assault
Audrey Wauchope, who was the writer for the show came forward and spoke about the sexual assaults against the showrunner, Mark Schwahn.
TV writer Audrey Wauchope recently accused One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment during the time she and her writing partner Rachel Specter had worked on the show. Audrey decided to raise her voice after harassment allegation against Supergirl producer Andrew Kreisberg came to light.
In a series of tweets, Audrey spoke about her first job experience and how she had been meaning to talk about it for a long time but never had the guts to do so. She recalled that she and Rachel had been hired as staff reporters for the show (which she does not name in the tweets) when she was 29 years-old.
Unlike most people, the first job experience for the two writers had not been so good as she states, "to say we left that job demoralized and confused is also an understatement." On their first day at work, they were told that the showrunner (the name is not revealed) hired female writers on the basis of their looks and his only motive is to "f**k them."
As for Rachel, who had been an actress prior to writing, she was told by a fellow colleague that 'he used to talk about her in the room before we were hired'. These comments left the girls feeling uncomfortable. Audrey wrote, "Imagine feeling for the rest of your career that you're possibly an imposter."
"Imagine that maybe, just maybe you're only here because you're a body, not a mind. It creeps into your thoughts and keeps you up at night and makes you wonder," she continued. She later continued that there were times when the female writers would try to get a spot away from the 'showrunner' during meetings.
This was to avoid any kind of inappropriate behavior from him. Quite often, men would come and sit next to him in order to protect the women. However, sometimes, it wouldn't work as "he'd just squeeze his disgusting body in between us and put his arms around us, grinning. He pet hair. He massaged shoulders."
Audrey also revealed that there was more to the stories but since she wasn't the one at the receiving end, she feels it is not her story to share with others. But the incident did leave a mark on Audrey and she can still feel it affecting her.
"Ever since then I just state, 'I don't like to be touched.' This often makes me sound angry or not warm. It's just that I don't know another way to make it clear I don't enjoy your unwanted touch," she wrote. Meanwhile, she shared another experience that happened quite often on the sets.
Audrey revealed that the 'showrunner' would show naked pictures to the staff of the girl he had been having an affair with. Naked photos that the girl did not know were circulating. At the same time, a day before Audrey's writing partner, Rachel was leaving for her wedding, she encountered the alleged person who Audrey had been talking about.
"The day before my writing partner left for her wedding he closed the door of his office and asked her if she really wanted to go through with it. Maybe he could have a shot? Hahahaha we said," she wrote. Audrey blamed the power structure that prevailed in the industry for such behavior to continuously carry on.
Meanwhile, a mandatory sexual harassment seminar was organized in which everyone was expected to raise questions. This seemingly put forth the idea that people were aware of the sexual assaults that had been taking place.
However, the accused did not show up at the event. Audrey added, "I'm furious and sad and everything else for the women who have sat on that couch next to that man." Meanwhile, the fellow co-stars of One Tree Hill, Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz tweeted about how proud they were of Audrey for speaking up.
Sophia wrote, "For the record. I stand with Audrey. @audreyalison #BurnItDownSis. And to the bad guys? Yeah. #FuckYourSorry". Hilarie tweeted, "Burn it down, sis. Love your bravery. I back your play 100%. Let's talk. Xo" and Bethany thanked Audrey for standing up.
Later, the cast and crew members of One Tree Hill came together and in a joint statement expressed their full support for Audrey. The letter read:
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.
Many of us were told, during filming, that coming forward to talk about this culture would result in our show being canceled and hundreds of lovely, qualified, hard-working, and talented people losing 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, because we want Tree Hill to remain the place “where everything’s better and everything’s safe” for our fans; some of whom have said that the show quite literally saved their lives. But the reality is, no space is safe when it has an underlying and infectious cancer. 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.
We are all deeply grateful for Audrey’s courage. For one another. And for every male castmate and crew member who has reached out to our group of women to offer their support these last few days. They echo the greater rallying cry that must lead us to change: Believe Women. We are all in this together.
With Love and Courage,
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
After the incident came to light, E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television came out with a statement saying, "We are monitoring the information carefully. E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television are committed to providing a safe working environment in which everyone is treated respectfully and professionally.”
Mark had been the mastermind behind the show The Royals but it is unclear as to how the show would proceed, post the recent allegations.
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