Hilarie Burton says Chad Michael Murray defended her from an alleged assault by One Tree Hill creator
Hilarie Burton is recounting the way Chad Michael Murray stood up for her during an alleged assault by One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn.
The actress, who starred as Peyton Sawyer on the teen drama from 2003 to 2009, told fellow costars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz about the incident — which she claimed took place at a bar while the series was filming in Honey Grove, Tex., in 2007 — during Thursday's episode of their Drama Queens podcast.
"Chad walked up and goes, 'What are you doing?' He said that to our boss in the bar," Burton said. "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 added, "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. You know, 'I can do whatever I want to her. In public. With her boyfriend standing there.'"
Bush, who was married to Murray from 2005 to 2006, added that she believed his leading role as One Tree Hill's heartthrob Lucas Scott allowed him the freedom to stand up for Burton. "He was protected as the No. 1 on the call sheet," she said. "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."
Earlier in their discussion, Bush reiterated the importance of looking after and protecting one another on set. "This idea that looking at the ground is okay — it's not," she stressed. "Thank God, Hilarie, that you had that moment with Chad, who was already so at odds with our boss."
EW has reached out to Murray's representatives, who did not immediately respond.
In 2017, Schwahn was accused of physical and emotional manipulation and sexual harassment in an open letter penned by 18 female members of One Tree Hill's cast and crew. Following the letter's release, the show's male cast members — including Murray — all voiced their support for their former colleagues.
"The women of OTH have always been strong and incredible. Today they've made us all even more proud by standing as a beacon of what is right, and continuing to lead & change the atmosphere of society," Murray said in a statement to EW at the time. "This affects all avenues of life, from our day to day activities in passing to each and every single work place. Respect and love must lead the way."
He added, "A new frontier has arrived & it's an honor to see all women stand up to the opposition that has caused so much pain. Equal rights & equal treatment isn't an option, it is mandatory. Equality, safety, and respect for all is the goal. I stand with all the those who have suffered & pray that this evil will meet its demise in the strength of this movement. OTH Women — I'm so dang proud of you."
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