Hilarie Burton got candid about how abuse on the One Tree Hill set still affects her today
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Hilarie Burton got candid about how abuse on the One Tree Hill set still affects her today

Hilarie Burton got candid about how abuse on the One Tree Hill set still affects her today


Hilarie Burton got candid about how abuse on the <em>One Tree Hill</em> set still affects her today

In her new memoir, The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm, One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton opens up about the alleged abuse and harassment she and her co-stars endured on set. According to People, in her book Burton says that OTH creator Mark Schwahn “was verbally abusive, touched her inappropriately, and kissed her against her will.” Still today, it affects how she parents her daughter.

Burton reportedly writes, “In my particular fairy tale there had been a villain who pitted female actors against one another, pushed us to do gratuitous sex scenes that always left me feeling ill and ashamed, told young female actors to stick their chests out, put his hands on all of us, and pushed himself on me, forcing unwanted kisses.”

Fearing for her reputation, Burton says that she didn’t speak up about the alleged abuse for 10 years. “I was told that if you speak up, your career is over,” she says. “You’ll be labeled a troublemaker.”

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The Story of a Book Cover – Part 1 Back in 2018, I was in search of a web designer to help us with our @themischieffarm site. I spoke with a few and was HIGHLY discouraged that we were not on the same page. I wanted to make art. They wanted to get a basic T-shirt site up. Then? I met @philandosophers . Very quickly we fell into a groove of collaboration. I sent Phil photos of our animals here at Mischief Farm, and he sent back illustrations I loved. But then we had to figure out the background of the farm. I knew a few things – that I wanted movement on the site, and that I wanted people visiting it to have an experience like coming here. I wanted them to feel the rust and old barnwood and the fat green plants that smell like rain. So Phil and I went back and forth. I love big abstract sky paintings. I love the mixed media of folk art. You can see my emails here. And never once did Phil say “That’s kinda difficult lady”. He’s an artist, so he took my ideas and made them better. The farmwebsite.pdf is a file I sent him after staying up late after the kids went to bed. I’d printed out the background he’d made, as well as the various photo elements and illustrations, and then I used my son’s glue sticks and paint and oil pastels to tweak the grass and sky. Phil ran with it. God bless him. The final step was adding in all our moving animals. We launched the site last year on my birthday, having no idea that it would come to be a part of my book cover. But I probably should have known. Phil and I put months and months of work into our little project. Stay tuned for Part 2 of – The Story of a Book Cover. Www.themischieffarm.com

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Now a mother to a 2-year-old daughter, George, Burton is taking some of the painful lessons she learned from this experience and using them to make her children stronger and better informed. (She and her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also have a 10-year-old son, Gus.)

“It affects how I parent [George],” she writes. “She will never be a pleaser. If my daughter tells someone to fuck off, awesome. I wish I had had the ability to do that.”

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George is a VERY picky reader. @harperonebooks sent me a stash of books to pass out. And the original plan was to hang out with all my neighbors and fellow shop owners in town and celebrate this love letter I wrote to everyone. Now George stacks and unstacks them each morning. They’re her toy. I worked on #ruraldiaries for years. And was looking forward to getting out and promoting it. I’d be lying if I said the absence of that opportunity didn’t sting a little bit. But then there are folks out there risking their lives to take care of all of us, and it snaps everything back into focus. I’m back at making masks as I post this. So I rewrite the narrative. This lockdown has allowed me to stay at home, with my whole family, and work together on the farm we worked so hard to build. This lockdown keeps Jeffrey home, and we are overjoyed. This lockdown has connected me to the friends I’ve made in town, as we work together to support our hospital. This lockdown has allowed our candy store @samuelssweetshop to be a part of countless birthdays and Easter baskets and anniversaries, as people send sugar laced love to one another. My book comes out right before Mother’s Day – 5/5/2020 – which I loved. Because that was the weekend @jeffreydeanmorgan and I met, and becoming a mother has been the most important turn my life ever took. So stack them books, George Virginia. They are all yours, baby. Mama is so glad we are all together.

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In 2017, Burton and 17 other women who worked on One Tree Hill, both on- and off-camera, sent a signed letter to Variety formally accusing Schwahn of sexual abuse and harassment. Burton and a handful of her colleagues later went into greater detail with the magazine about the abuse and harassment they underwent over the course of the show’s nine seasons. As a result, Schwahn was suspended and ultimately fired from his role as showrunner on The Royals.

Burton’s One Tree Hill costar Sophia Bush has also been candid about her experiences with Schwahn.

Recently, Bush spoke with Ashley Graham about fighting with Schwahn over shooting scenes in which she was gratuitously sexualized. In a 2018 interview with Refinery 29, she echoed Burton’s sentiment that Schwahn attempted to create a hostile environment among the women on set.

“Does it suck when your boss is a pig? Of course,” Bush said. “But what was worse for us were the moments when he was so skilled at pitting the girls against each other, and we didn’t know how to undo that. We did it. We had to do the work to do it.”

Burton’s memoir, The Rural Diaries, was released today, May 5th.

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