Los Angeles, Nov 14 (PTI) Writer Mark Schwahn has been accused of sexual harassment by the cast and crew of the 2003 hit show “One Tree Hill”.

Stars of The CW series, including actors Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz released a joint statement in support of writer Audrey Wauchope, who took to Twitter about harassment from the 51-year-old creator without naming him.

The statement acquired by The Hollywood Reporter read, “Mark Schwahn’s behaviour over the duration of the filming of One Tree Hill was something of an ‘open secret’. Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally.”

The female members of the team said in the statement that they had soon realised they had to handle the situation on their own.

“We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behaviour and how to handle it. To warn new women who joined our ranks. We understood that a lot of it was orchestrated in ways that kept it out of sight for the studio back home.”

The women were told during the shooting of “One Tree…” that coming forward to talk about this culture would result in the show’s cancellation and many people would lose their jobs.

“This is not an appropriate amount of pressure to put on young girls. Many of us since have stayed silent publicly but had very open channels of communication in our friend group and in our industry…

“We have worked at taking our power back, making the conventions our own, and relishing in the good memories. But there is more work to be done,” the statement further read.

Burton recently revealed Ben Affleck had groped her TRL in 2003, for which the actor later apologised.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.