Bryan Greenberg on Why He Supported His 'One Tree Hill' Co-Stars Over Mark Schwahn Scandal (Exclusive)
Bryan Greenberg couldn't be more supportive of his former One Tree Hill co-stars for speaking out about the alleged sexual misconduct they endured by showrunner Mark Schwahn.
ET spoke with the 39-year-old actor over the phone last week, where amid his holiday preparations with his wife, Jamie Chung -- the two have partnered with Braun this season, and plan to give out several Series 9 and Series 7 this year as gifts -- he opened up about why he felt it was important to come forward and publicly praise the bravery of his female castmates.
"I was in shock by the allegations, because I wasn't really aware of any of that happening. I wasn't privy to it. I wasn't a regular on that show, so I was just kind of on and off for a couple years, so I'd fly in and fly out when I was done shooting. I didn't live there. I wasn't really close to any of that," said Greenberg, who played Jake Jaglieski on the show from 2003 to 2006. "But when there's that many women coming forward and saying something, I mean, you have to take that seriously."
The allegations against Schwahn came to light last month, when OTH writer Audrey Wauchope claimed that she was sexually harassed in a series of tweets. Though Wauchope didn't name Schwahn in her messages, her female co-workers -- including Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz -- did call out Schwahn in an open letter, alleging that he spoke to them in ways that were “deeply upsetting, to traumatizing, to downright illegal,” and claimed that they were put in positions that made them feel “physically unsafe.”
"I talked to some of the actresses, and I got their side of the story. And then I felt compelled to just stand by them," Greenberg explained of his message supporting his castmates last month. "That's the worst feeling, is just not knowing, and feeling like you could have done something and you didn't know. But the fact that they didn't feel comfortable in telling me or anybody until years later, that's why I'm so supportive of them."
"I feel like it's important that for people who have been harassed that they feel like they can say something," he continued. "But hopefully, this whole movement that's happening will put a change to that sort of behavior, especially in the workplace, because I don't think there's a place for that."
As an actress working in the industry for nearly 15 years, Chung also weighed in on the allegations.
"With [Schwahn], I had no idea, but then there are other people where I'm not surprised, where when accusers came out, it's like, 'Finally!' Because you hear these rumors and you don't know if the allegations are true, but, where there's smoke, there's fire. I personally never experienced any kind of sexual abuse, thankfully I'm one of the lucky ones, but there's rumors of this kind of behavior that persisted for years," she expressed. "But people are finally brave enough to come forward, and all I can do is support, because they really have nothing to gain. They're being criticized from both ends. They just can't live with this truth anymore and I absolutely support them."
Greenberg and Chung also went on to note the importance of not rushing to judgment and doing "due diligence" when investigating claims of sexual misconduct.
"I made multiple calls and I corroborated stories before I made a statement. I'm a little apprehensive of throwing everyone under the bus over one accusation," Greenberg shared. "But I definitely support the victims and I think it's a great thing [that they're speaking out]. I think, hopefully, it will change this evil culture that's permeated our industry for so long."
"It's an interesting time. It's a moment to call people out and it's the year of the woman," Chung added. "And I think it's important that [people] stand behind this cause, because it's the right cause."
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