Another former writer for One Tree Hill is coming forward with more details about the show's creator Mark Schwahn and the alleged culture on set of the series. In her guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, Stacy Rukeyser said that she was uncomfortable on One Tree Hill during her two seasons as a writer and wrote that there was allegedly a "frat house" vibe on set. The current UnReal showrunner wrote about her experience on the series and presented another look into what she described as an allegedly "misogynistic" environment on the show. Bustle has reached out to Mark Schwan's attorney and representative and Warner Bros. TV, but has not received a response at the time of publication. In addition, Rukeyser also offers a possible way to prevent this kind of culture from continuing.
Rukeyser wrote in The Hollywood Reporter piece that she was only one of two women on her first season as a writer and was the only woman in the room in her second season. She wrote that, "To say it was an uncomfortable work environment would be an understatement. Showrunner Mark Schwahn created, from the top down, a writers room that I described at the time, perhaps naively, as a frat house — and that I now see as a misogynistic quagmire."
She then went on to describe some alleged actions that occurred during her time with the series that could certainly be seen as uncomfortable. Rukeyser described being "uncomfortable" by the writing staff's decision to go to Hooters for lunch. She wrote,
"When the other writers decided on Hooters for lunch, I was faced with a daunting decision — do I 'suck it up' and go along, so as not to miss out on any 'work bonding,' or simply laugh it off and let them go without me? I went with option C, and told them it made me uncomfortable (they went anyway, of course — 'they have the best wings in town!'). I was ridiculed, harangued and called names."
Rukeyser also described a time when an executive producer on the show reportedly attempted to install a hot tub behind the writers' room. She wrote,
"I'm sure Mark would say now, 'It was a joke!' But at the time, I had to explain to these baffled men how, particularly as the only woman, I might feel uncomfortable having to strip down to a bathing suit in order to break story."
In both of these scenarios, Rukeyser said she was put in an uncomfortable position due to the allegedly "misogynist" environment on the show and, as a result of that, broke her three-year writing contract in order to leave the show early, according to her column in The Hollywood Reporter. "I burned a lot of bridges by breaking that contract," she wrote. "Actions have their consequences."
Rukeyser does end her column on a hopeful note by offering a solution for change within the industry. She says, "Hire women. Mentor women. Help them rise up to positions of power. And get rid of the idea that doing so will somehow diminish the fun you're able to have along the way." This is a great idea for helping to prevent the type of "misogynistic" environment that she unfortunately had to be a part of in the past.
Rukeyser's account comes after multiple members of the One Tree Hill cast and crew detailed sexual harassment allegations towards showrunner Schwahn. The female cast and crew members of the show wrote a letter, released by Variety, in support of former One Tree Hill writer Audrey Wauchope, who first came out with sexual harassment allegations against the showrunner in a Twitter thread.
Hilarie Burton also accused him of harassment, according to Variety. She said that Schwahn allegedly "twice forced himself on her" and "touched her inappropriately" in the presence of his wife. These accounts, along with Rukeyser's, have all helped to shed a light on what seemed to be an allegedly toxic environment for the women who worked on the show. Their brave accounts can hopefully help create much-need change within the industry so that this kind of environment no longer has a place to thrive.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.