Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and the female cast of One Tree Hill joined with the show's crew to write a letter accusing former showrunner Mark Schwahn of "traumatizing" sexual harassment on the set of the popular TV drama.
The letter was penned in support of former Tree Hill writer Audrey Wauchope, who detailed in a series of weekend tweets the treatment female crew endured on the show, which aired on WB from 2003 to 2006, and on the CW from 2006 to 2012.
Schwahn created the series and was the overseeing showrunner for its entire eight-season run.
"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," said the letter published in the entertainment trade publication Variety.
The letter stated that Schwahn's alleged chronic behavior on the show was 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."
Much of the alleged offending behavior was done in a way that was it was kept from the studio, according to the letter.
"We also understood that no one was fully unaware," the letter continued. "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."
The cast and crew had kept silent until now to protect the show's legacy.
"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."
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