'One Tree Hill' Sexual Harassment: Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and More Speak Out Against Creator Mark Schwahn In Powerful Display of Unity

One Tree Hill cast accuse creator of sexual harassment
Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz of 'One Tree Hill' pose during an appearance at the FYE music store in new York City to sign CD's of the show soundtrack, January 25, 2004. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Five years after teen drama One Tree Hill went off the air, the show's cast and crew have united to speak out against creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn's alleged sexual harassment of female employees.

Several of the series' female cast members and crew penned an open letter, published by Variety, claiming that Schwahn "manipulated psychologically and emotionally" women and left some feeling "physically unsafe."

The letter is signed by more than a dozen women led by One Tree Hill's breakout star Sophia Bush, who played Brooke Davis in the show, and co-stars Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz.

"Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally. More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress," the letter said.

"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 women came forward after One Tree Hill staff writer Audrey Wauchope detailed sexual harassment by an unnamed showrunner on Twitter Sunday.

Related: An updated list of men accused of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault

She claimed that female writers were hired on the "basis of their looks" and that the showrunner in question even propositioned her writing partner to date him and asked if she was sure she wanted to marry her partner, just as she was taking leave for her wedding.

In light of the Andrew Kreisberg reporting, a couple thoughts about my first writing job that I've wanted to say for years but have never had the guts to. When I was 29 my writing partner @RachelSpecter and I were hired as staff writers.

— Audrey Wauchope Lieberstein (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017

To say we were excited was an understatement. To say we left that job demoralized and confused is also an understatement. 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.

— Audrey Wauchope Lieberstein (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017

Moving on. 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. That's crazy. He's crazy. NO. He's abusive.

— Audrey Wauchope Lieberstein (@audreyalison) November 12, 2017

Bush, Burton and Lenz all responded to Wauchope, praising her bravery for speaking out, leading to Twitter users to suspect the showrunner was Schwahn.

Burn it down, sis. Love your bravery. I back your play 100%. Let's talk. Xo

— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) November 13, 2017

Schwahn is currently showrunner on the E! drama The Royals starring Elizabeth Hurley. The show has just finished production on its fourth season. E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television told Variety they are "monitoring the information carefully" and "are committed to providing a safe working environment in which everyone is treated respectfully and professionally."

One Tree Hill, a coming-of-age drama set in North Carolina, ran for nine seasons from 2003 to 2012, first on The WB network and later The CW.

One Tree Hill revolt

In an unprecedented show of unity on a television series or movie, nearly all of the show's core cast—as well as some crew members—have shown support for the female cast and crew after the letter was published.

See the reactions below:

Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis)

It's time, sisters. I am so proud to call these women my family. You cannot imagine. #linkinbio https://t.co/OvWGsCyuXb

— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) November 14, 2017

Hilarie Burton (Peyton Sawyer)

I have been angry for a decade. Today, my sisters take back what was rightfully ours. #burnitdownsis #fuckyoursorry https://t.co/QMZBzwqm7g

— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) November 14, 2017

Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James Scott)

What a long time coming. Your deeds will truly find you out in the end. I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak up in a time when change is possible. There is still more to say but for this moment, we thank you for your support 🙌🏼💥

— Bethany Joy Lenz (@BethanyJoyLenz) November 14, 2017

James Lafferty (Nathan Scott)


— James Lafferty (@ThisIsLafferty) November 14, 2017

Torrey DeVitto (Carrie)

I️ never thought this day would come. I️ stand w u all. Add my name 2 the list. This norm is OVER!#ItEndsHere&Now https://t.co/bBPZ2Megix

— Torrey DeVitto (@TorreyDeVitto) November 14, 2017

Lee Norris (Mouth McFadden)

My female friends in the cast and crew of OTH are smart, articulate women, and they are more than capable of speaking...

Posted by Lee Norris on Monday, November 13, 2017

Danneel Harris (Rachel Gatina)

Tonight we found our Voice. I love you all.❤️#BurnItDownSis https://t.co/gYSwIX6Nrc

— Danneel HarrisAckles (@DanneelHarris) November 14, 2017

Stephen Colletti (Chase Adams)

I want to acknowledge the women of OTH who have penned their letter with deep wounds from a culture unacceptable for anyone, at any age, and in any business.

I have the utmost respect of your position in righting the wrongs you have endured. I stand for you, for better...

— Stephen Colletti (@StephenColletti) November 14, 2017

Austin Nichols (Julian Baker)

I stand with all my OTH sisters. We have to change. We have to be better. All of us. This is unacceptable.

— AUSTIN NICHOLS (@AustinNichols) November 14, 2017

Robert Buckley (Clay Evans)

To the women of OTH that have come forward and bravely used their voices, I want you to know I believe you, I respect you and I support you.

— Robert Buckley (@robertbuckley) November 14, 2017

Shantel VanSanten (Quinn James)

Thank you! It means everything to have strong men stand with us! https://t.co/X9i0WHAg5X

— Shantel VanSanten (@TheRealShantel) November 14, 2017