The statement says that Schwahn's behavior was an open secret on the show, and some of the women are still in treatment for post-traumatic stress.
"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", the women claim. The letter claimed that these women felt they needed to be able to physically fight back against Schwahn's alleged advances when supervisors allegedly "were not the protectors they were supposed to be", and that they claims they unsafe in his presence. Many of us were spoken to in ways that ran the spectrum from deeply upsetting, to traumatising, to downright illegal.
It's never easy to hear someone share their story of sexual assault, and finding out that it allegedly happened on set of a beloved teen TV show is heartbreaking. The women, along with the rest of the female cast members and crew, detailed their experiences with the Hollywood executive in an open letter to Variety on Monday (Nov 13).
Many of the One Tree Hill cast members even expressed their feelings on Twitter, with mainstay Sophia Bush retweeting the Variety post with hashtags in support of the allegations, including #BurnItDownSis #F-YourSorry and #BelieveWomen.
A legal representative for Schwahn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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They said that they leaned on each other when they couldn't take the matter further, and that they stayed silent because they were anxious the show would be cancelled if anything got out.
Schwann is now working on The Royals and E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television, the companies behind the show, said in a statement on Monday that they "are monitoring the information carefully". "E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television are focused on giving a protected workplace in which everybody is dealt with deferentially and professionally".
In an unprecedented show of unity on a television series or movie, almost 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. Often men would help out by sitting next to him, thus protecting the women", Wauchope tweeted before adding, "he'd just squeeze his disgusting body in between us and put his arms around us, grinning. "It turns out my story was a catalyst for others and I stand by them as they continue to speak". "We also understood that no one was fully unaware [of what was happening on the set]", they continued. The lack of action that has been routine, the turning of the other cheek, is intolerable.
"They echo the greater rallying cry that must lead us to change: Believe Women", they wrote in conclusion.