Hilarie Burton has recounted how her One Tree Hill costar Chad Michael Murray defended her against the show’s creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn during an alleged assault.
Speaking on the Drama Queens podcast, Burton recalled the incident which took place while the teen drama was on location in Honey Grove, Texas in 2007.
She told her cohosts and former One Tree Hill costars, Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz, “Chad walked up and goes, ‘What are you doing?’ He said that to our boss in the bar… He watched our boss grab me in front of a lot of people, and you know, Chad didn’t have anything to lose cause he knew our boss hated him anyway.” She continued, “A lot of people had a lot to lose, so you don’t speak up when you have a lot to lose. But (our boss) felt so comfortable that that was not something that he had a problem with. (He thought), ‘I can do whatever I want to her in public with her boyfriend standing there.’”
Bush shared that she believed Murray’s starring role as Lucas Scott on the show contributed to his ability to defend Burton. Said Bush, “He was protected as the No. 1 on the call sheet. He had the most power, so he could come up and shove our boss off you and get in a fight. And I’m glad that he did. I want everybody to follow that lead.”
Bush also talked about the importance of protecting others. “This idea that looking at the ground is OK — it’s not,” she said. “And thank God, Hilarie, that you had that moment with Chad, who was already so at odds with our boss.”
Schwahn has never spoken about any of the allegations, but was later fired from E!’s The Royals in 2017. His downfall began when TV writer Audrey Wauchope accused the OTH creator and showrunner of sexual harassment during the time she and her writing partner, Rachel Specter, worked on the CW drama. The duo were soon joined by a number of other former OTH cast and crew members, including Bush, Burton and Lenz, who signed an open letter detailing harassment by Schwahn. They described being “manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” “put in uncomfortable positions,” “threatened” and feeling “physically unsafe” while on the show. The women have received support from their male counterparts, with a number of OTH stars standing by their colleagues in social media messages.
Soon after the allegations came out, Schwahn was suspended and subsequently fired from The Royals.