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"One Tree Hill" Star Hilarie Burton Says "Psychotic" Boss Wrote Himself Into Intimate Scene With Her

Cast and crew members have accused creator Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment.

The women of One Tree Hill have been vocal over the years regarding their experiences with series creator Mark Schwahn. The show aired from 2003 to 2012 and in the years since, the producer has been accused of sexual harassment, including in a letter signed by 18 cast and crew members in 2017. Hilarie Burton, who played Peyton Sawyer, is among those who've claimed that Schwahn harassed her and abused his power. And in a new episode of her podcast, she detailed a particular incident in which the creator, who she wasn't speaking to at the time, wrote himself into an intimate scene with her.

Burton shared the story on the podcast Drama Queens, which she co-hosts with One Tree Hill co-stars Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush. During the conversation, the women did not refer to Schwahn by name, instead calling him "Voldemort," in reference to the Harry Potter villain. Read on to find out more.

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Burton said Schwahn cast himself in a scene with her.

Mark Schwahn on "One Tree Hill"
The CW

On the Aug. 21 episode of Drama Queens the hosts discussed a Season 5 episode of One Tree Hill titled "Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace." Burton said that she was not on speaking terms with Schwahn at the time, and that she believes he put himself into a scene so that she would have to interact with him. The scene required her to give his character a hug.

"This episode was obviously interesting for me because I had to deal with the worst," Burton said. Bush interjected, "Voldemort," and Burton confirmed, "Voldemort, yeah." As reported by Insider, the hosts often refer to Schwahn by that name.

The 41-year-old actor continued, "I wasn't speaking to him in real life, and so he wrote himself into the episode and wrote me hugging him."

Burton's co-star called the move "psychotic."

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Schwahn had previously appeared in one Season 4 episode of One Tree Hill. His character was a record store owner named Max. Burton's co-hosts agreed that he seemed to have written himself in again in response to the current state of his relationship with Burton.

"That is so psychotic," Lenz said of Schwahn writing the hug between his and Burton's characters. "Can you guys imagine Shonda Rhimes or Aaron Sorkin casting themselves on their own show?" Bush added.

"It was so creepy," Burton said.

Later in the episode, Lenz noted that the scene featuring Max didn't even make sense. "It's just so weird," she said. "Why in the world is Peyton talking to Max the record store guy?"

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Burton brought her dad to work to support her.

Hilarie Burton on "One Tree Hill"
The WB

Burton decided to have her dad, Bill Burton, join her on set the day that she had to film the scene with Schwahn. She noted that her brother was also on set, and that the episode was being directed by her then-boyfriend's father, Greg Prange.

"There's all these dudes on set and it just wasn't quite enough, and so I invited my dad to work this day, and my dad came and sat behind the monitor the whole day, which was kinda weird, right?" Burton recalled. "Because he clearly wasn't there to be friendly. He was just being a presence." She continued, "In between every take I would just beeline to the monitor and go stand next to my dad, 'cause you can't touch me, you can't pull me into a sidebar conversation, you can't do any of that if I'm just shooting the [expletive] and making jokes with my dad."

Burton explained that her dad knows how to use bullwhips and realized that the show's sound mixer, Michael Rayle, happened to know how to use them, too. So, the two went to play around with the bullwhips that her dad had in his car, and it made for an intimidating display for Schwahn.

"Voldemort goes off to the production office, where his office has, like, a view of the parking lot," she recounted. "And my dad and Mike Rayle proceed to go out into crew parking and pull out bullwhips and start doing all these tricks and just like cracking them real loud, so they're making all these noise … It was just like a message, like, 'Hey, don't.'"

RELATED: Michael Douglas Yelled at Her on Set Until She Cried, Former Child Actor Said.

Burton has accused Schwahn of several instances of misconduct.

Mark Schwahn at the NBCUniversal Winter 2015 Cable TCA
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In November 2017, Burton accused Schwahn of sexual harassment and assault. She claimed to Variety that there were two incidents in which the One Tree Hill creator kissed her without consent, that he put his hand in her pants while they were at an event with his wife, and that he tried to give her a massage on set without her permission. She claimed that during the massage incident, she told him, "You're going to lose your job. You can't touch the girls anymore." Burton said that this made him "furious" and that he yelled at her for half an hour in his office.

Burton and 17 other women who worked on One Tree Hill signed a letter in which they accused Schwahn of sexual harassment. A similar letter was released by cast and crew members from Schwahn's show The Royals, which was still airing in 2017. Schwahn did not comment on the allegations and was fired from The Royals. He has not worked in Hollywood since and could not be reached for comment regarding Burton's new claims on the podcast.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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