'One Tree Hill' showrunner accused of sexual harassment

'One Tree Hill' showrunner accused of sexual harassment

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - In a letter published by Variety, cast and crew members of the television show One Tree Hill accused showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment.

The letter was issued after writer Audrey Wauchope detailed in a series of tweets over the weekend the treatment women on the show endured.

One Tree Hill, which ran from 2003-12, was filmed in Wilmington.

In the tweets, in which Schwahn is not identified by name, Wauchope states that she and her writing partner Rachel Specter were told that the "showrunner hired female writers on the basis of their looks" and that he wanted to have sex with them.

Wauchope also accuses the showrunner of inappropriately touching female writers, and said that he showed male staff members naked photos of an actress he was having an affair with.

"I'm furious and sad and everything else for the women who have sat on that couch next to that man. And I'm furious and sad and everything else that years later I don't feel safe to be able to do anything real about this and that it seems to be happening all over this town," Wauchope said in a tweet.

ON Tuesday, WECT talked to Cullen Moss, who worked on the show for all nine seasons. He said, "I didn't witness anything firsthand but I knew the women who came forward, and they are wonderful, talented women. I believe in them and what they said, and stand behind them and support them."

Ruthie Halko, a One Tree Hill superfan who owns Coastal Paws in downtown Wilmington, has been to seven OTH conventions in Wilmington and has met all the actresses who came forward.

"At first, I didn't want to believe it," Halko said. "Then more women spoke out, and it just hit us fans that all these are the women we look up to, and our role models were hurting, and we learned so much from them over the years."

Halko said she while she never met Schwahn, she believes the show shouldn't be defined by these new allegations.

"While he created the show, part of the One Tree Hill  'fandom' is that he is not the one that made OTH what it is," Halko said. "He may have started it and put it out there, but the characters and actors give it the meaning it has today."

Halko says she commends the women for coming forward.

"I think it takes a lot when something happens to you to come out publicly and say something and these women stick together as a team," Halko said. "When one person said something, the rest of them backed each other up, and it is a way for us as women that aren't famous to know that it's OK to come out and say something."

The letter from the cast and crew members can be read below:

To Whom It May Concern,

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