Hilarie Burton detailed alleged rampant harassment by “One Tree Hill” showrunner Mark Schwahn after the series’ female stars banded together to support writer Audrey Wauchope who accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Burton, 35, told Variety of several alleged instances in which Schwahn forcefully kissed her and also shoved his hands down her pants after determining she was “his muse.”
“Things took a turn in season three,” Burton told Variety. “That’s when Mark decided that I was his muse.”
She described at least three incidents where Schwahn forced himself on her — kissing her more like a boyfriend than a “hey, sis, how’s your day?” kiss.
One of the encounters happened while the two were on the phone with CW president Dawn Ostroff about a vision for the upcoming season while on a drive back from Raleigh, N.C., to Wilmington, N.C., after a “One Tree Hill” contest for high school students in Texas.
Burton was invited by Schwahn to join him on the call, knowing her desire to produce, but he began aggressively kissing her when it was Ostroff’s turn to talk.
Actress Hilarie Burton detailed her alleged harassment by “One Tree Hill” showrunner Mark Schwahn.
(Marc Stamas/Getty Images)
“I’m leaning in listening, and when it’s Dawn Ostroff’s turn to talk, he just leans over and starts kissing me,” Burton recalled. “I push him off, but I can’t say anything, because he’s on the phone fighting for our show to stay on the air. I’m just in this position where I’m thinking, ‘You’ve got to take it, Hil. Just laugh it off. You’ll get to Wilmington in 45 minutes.'”
She also said that weeks after that trip, Schwahn sent her an invitation to “the kissing club” with a note to meet Schwahn at a local restaurant at 9 p.m. She did not attend.
“He had this grand idea that it was going to be this swingers make-out club where people who are in relationships can make out with no strings attached,” she said.
“There was no way I was going to go,” Burton told Variety. “So I stood him up, and he was pretty angry about it.”
He allegedly put his hands down her pants while at a concert with fellow “One Tree Hill” actress Danneel Ackles (Harris) and Schwahn’s wife. Burton said he touched the small of her back and slid his hand beneath the waistband, which Ackles confirmed witnessing to Variety.
After Schwahn’s non-stop harassment of Burton, Ackles and other women on the set, Burton said she finally got fed him and demanded he stop.
Mark Schwahn is accused of harassing countless young actresses on the set of “One Tree Hill.”
(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
“You gotta stop. Mark, I’m telling you, as your friend, your wife is going to hear about this s–t,” she recalled saying after he started rubbing her shoulders and back. “You’re going to lose your job. You can’t touch the girls anymore.”
Burton’s few accounts were just one of an alleged many that apparently happened on the set. Stories about the director/producer came to light after Wauchope took to Twitter to share her story.
She claimed female writers would avoid sitting near him and protect each other from having to get too close.
“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,” she wrote.
After she came forward, Burton and fellow actress Sophia Bush took to Twitter to show their support before all of the women of the show issued a joint statement.
“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.'” They wrote, collectively. “Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally. More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress.”
Hilarie Burton as Peyton on “One Tree Hill.”
(Photo: Fred Norris)
Schwahn has since been suspended from his current show, “The Royals” amid the accusations.
Burton also alleged that Ben Affleck groped her during her time as a VJ on MTV. Affleck issued an apology declaring he acted inappropriately.