One Tree Hill alumna Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush breathed a sigh of relief on Twitter yesterday, reacting to the announcement that E! had fired their former OTH boss Mark Shwahn from The Royals for sexual misconduct.
"43 women came forward," Bush wrote on Thursday. "To the ones who did and to the ones who didn’t or couldn’t, I hope this news is a salve to your souls. To the other predators out there? I hope this is a lesson that sometimes, even if it takes time, justice is served. You’re next."
Shwahn, The Royals creator and showrunner, had been suspended since November, when women came forward from both One Tree Hill and The Royals to disclose the ways he abused them. The 18 women from the CW show said, "Many of us were spoken to in ways that ran the spectrum from deeply upsetting, to traumatizing, to downright illegal. And a few of us were put in positions where we felt physically unsafe." Then 25 members of The Royals cast and crew wrote their own letter discussing his "repeated unwanted sexual harassment of multiple female members of cast and crew."
43 women came forward. To the ones who did and to the ones who didn’t or couldn’t, I hope this news is a salve to your souls.— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) December 21, 2017
To the other predators out there? I hope this is a lesson that sometimes, even if it takes time, justice is served. You’re next. https://t.co/Vq5R0obvjK
Burton told Variety that Shwahn had forcibly kissed her on the mouth and touched her inappropriately in front of his wife.
On Thursday, Burton shared why it was important for people to stop discussing why some harassment isn't so bad, as compared to others. (She's talking to you, Matt Damon.)
"The reason we cannot condone 'degrees of harassment' is because one day you get your butt or boob grabbed at work," Burton wrote. "And you laugh it off. You become conditioned. 'She's such a good sport' they say. And then? You meet a Schwahn. A Weinstein."
1. The reason we cannot condone "degrees of harassment" is because one day you get your butt or boob grabbed at work. And you laugh it off. You become conditioned. "She's such a good sport" they say. And then? You meet a Schwahn. A Weinstein. https://t.co/axfafD7okg— Hilarie Burton (@HilarieBurton) December 22, 2017
Burton went on to thank the cast and crew on the shows she's been in since One Tree Hill, noting that they've shown her what a nontoxic set can be like.
"And my ability to speak up now, all these years later, is because I have seen what filmmaking should be. You can be talented AND kind," she wrote.
All of these forms of abuse are about men exerting power over women, not necessarily about sex. When employers start listening to every complaint about harassment, without waiting for 25 to come forward, that's a step toward making a safer, more comfortable work environment for all.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call theRAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).