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Sophia Bush Defends Hilarie Burton for Not Attending 'One Tree Hill' Convention

Sophia Bush Defends Hilarie Burton for Not Attending 'One Tree Hill' Convention

Sophia Bush is speaking out to defend her longtime friend and former One Tree Hill co-star Hilarie Burton, who was criticized for deciding not to attend a One Tree Hill convention.

Hilarie said that she does not feel comfortable attending the event because she feels the company is exploiting how female cast and crew members from One Tree Hill came forward with sexual harassment allegations against showrunner Mark Schwahn.

“I will not be attending any Eyecon events. Ever. I personally feel exploited by their ‘girl power’ angle, which exists at the expense of some of us who went through a difficult time on that show,” Hilarie wrote on Twitter. “They’re using our sisterhood as a sales gimmick. No thanks.”

Hilarie then received backlash from members of the EyeCon organization, so Sophia decided to write a lengthy letter in support of her pal.

“Hilarie Burton is my sister. Don’t f–k with her. Period,” Sophia wrote with her message.

Click inside to read the full letter…

Sophia Bush’s Full Letter in Defense of Hilarie Burton

“Let’s get real clear, real quick. Hilarie Burton is my sister. She is a big-hearted, brilliant, thoughtful, incredible human. She has had laser sharp, clearly defined integrity running up her spine as long as I have known her.

She is a human being. She has feelings. She is entitled to her OWN OPINIONS. She does not make statements hastily. She didn’t say something about a business situation and the way that it was handled that was ‘based on emotion, not logic.’ And the fact that a ‘business organization’ would DARE to say such a thing has a fire burning in me.

So let’s get brutally honest. You want to throw a ‘women’s empowerment’ event but bash a woman who said that the way it’s been handled doesn’t feel good to her? A woman whose personal victimization took the world’s stage this past fall? Whose sisterhood circled around her, and each other, to see to it that he be stopped from treating other women in such a way? How. Dare. You.

Want to know why Hil said she feels exploited by this ‘empowerment’ con? Well add my name to that hat. Because so do I. We told our stories. As a united front. We refused to let it get tabloidy and gross. And then suddenly a convention publicly announced that they want to empower women? Now, that would have been FINE – lovely, even – IF THEY HAD SPOKEN TO US ABOUT THIS. Had they called our reps and said, ‘as fellow victims in our own individual ways, we want to make the next con all about women, and raise money for women’s charities.’ They did not. Let me repeat. They. Did. NOT. They didn’t ask a single one of us if we’d feel okay focusing a convention, which is dedicated to the show on which many of us were harassed or abused behind the scenes, around those very issues and thus offer an expectation to all fans and attendees that we would be discussing these past violations and focusing on issues that none of us want to be forced to relive in meet and greets and photo sessions. They made an announcement without thinking of any of the women of One Tree Hill for a second. And now they are defending themselves by saying that Mark took advantage of them too? That he ruined their ability to watch a show which felt like their safe space. Well it HAPPENED to us.

They are also now saying that because they too have stories from their own lives, they couldn’t have possibly pounced on the business opportunity of capitalizing on our experiences. And my heart breaks for their past pain. But those painful realities are not mutually exclusive from a clear business opportunity. None of those deeply personal experiences of the women behind the scenes of this event will be asked about in Q&As. None of those women will be asked to expand in front of an audience about what MeToo means to them. None of those women will have their past be made fair game fodder without their EXPRESS PERMISSION and CONSENT. Any of us who has spoken about this – in interviews, on panels, at conferences – has been ASKED FIRST. They did not ask us. They announced a deeply personal theme and intention, which revolves in this context, around what all OTH fans know happened to us, without thinking about us at all. And forgive me if it now feels like the claim of charity fundraising is being made to cover this up. (For example, they cited Ian doing a con to raise money for his charity? That didn’t just happen. It was PLANNED. Where was our opportunity to plan any such fundraiser prior to this announcement being made and the expectation that because of the ‘theme’ we would all just be on board?)

Don’t even get me started on the reality – which I know for a FACT – that multiple women reported a male guest at these conventions behaving inappropriately and this ‘organization’ did NOTHING. He was invited back multiple times, until more than one of us women was alerted and then jointly said expressly that we would never do another con if he were present. Again. FACT.

So. Yes. This feels exploitative. Yes, this feels like a violation. And the fact that a ‘business’ would behave in such a childish and offensive manner as to incite the bashing of an actress sharing her personal opinion about her feelings – the fact that they would stoop so low as to retweet hateful messages about her – or pit victims against one another? I’ve seen fans attacking each other over whose abuse is worse?! This is revolting. REVOLTING. To shame a woman and say she’s ‘emotional not logical?’ I thought that kind of bullsh-t was reserved for mansplaining. And low and behold it’s being done by women. How dare you. Here’s me being logical, listing out facts and your failures to behave professionally with both your statements and your backend communications with us. Here’s me ALSO expressing my emotions of anger and disgust and saying that I’m out. You won’t be seeing me there. I wasn’t going to attend because I too felt icky about the ‘theme’ given the complete lack of conversation about it. But now? Nah. You came for my sister. That’s the most anti-women-support-women action I’ve seen. So yeah. This is me officially saying I’m out too.”

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Hilarie Burton, One Tree Hill, Sophia Bush

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  • Brandy Chandler

    GOOD! It is about time someone has called out this bullshit finally. I will support Sophia and Hilarie but everything One Tree Hill is going in the trash or fire pit for the B.B.Q. tonight.

  • Jilly Beam

    Good.

  • Dieter from Sprockets

    Sophia Bush, a beautiful woman inside and out.