A former Hallmark star has revealed that Chad Michael Murray came to her rescue during an alleged sexual assault. Hilarie Burton Morgan talked about the harrowing story during a recent podcast.
She Said Murray Demanded: ‘What Are You Doing?’
Burton Morgan shared the story during an episode of the “Drama Queens” podcast, Us Magazine reported. She talked about what happened with fellow hosts Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz. Lenz is also a Hallmark star.
Burton Morgan said the incident happened in 2007 while they were filming an episode of season 4 of “One Tree Hill” in Honey Grove, Texas. Although Burton Morgan didn’t mention her boss by name, Us Magazine reported that she was talking about the show’s showrunner, Mark Schwahn.
She said that Murray walked up to their boss while they were in a bar and confronted him.
“Chad walked up and goes, ‘What are you doing?'” she said. “He watched our boss grab me in front of a lot of people, and you know, Chad didn’t have anything to lose because he knew our boss hated him anyway… [Our boss] felt so comfortable that that was not something that he had a problem with..”
Bush replied, “Thank God, Hilarie, that you had that moment with Chad, who was already so at odds with our boss.”
Bush added that since Murray was first on the call sheet, “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.”
Burton Morgan said she didn’t expect anyone to speak up for her because everyone had salaries they needed to keep in order to survive.
She said that before they started filming in Honey Grove, she had to fly to the town alone with Schwahn.
Us Magazine reported that she alleged: “The flight back from that is when he assaulted me. He assaulted me again in the car on the drive from Raleigh to Wilmington.”
Bush, Burton Morgan, Lenz, and others first shared similar allegations in a letter shared with Variety in 2017, where they supported Audrey Wauchope, a series writer. Wauchope had taken to Twitter to accuse Schwahn of harassment. In an interview with Variety in 2017, Burton Morgan alleged that Schwahn had touched her inappropriately, against her will, on more than one occasion. At the time, NBCUniversal suspended Schwahn, who was the creator and showrunner of their series “The Royals,” and then later fired him, Hollywood Reporter reported.
“We have concluded our investigation and Mark will not be returning to ‘The Royals,'” a spokesperson for Lionsgate TV told Variety in a statement in 2017.
Burton Morgan Left Hallmark After Speaking Out for Greater Diversity
Burton Morgan left Hallmark in 2019 after speaking out for greater diversity, before the network underwent changes that brought more diversity to movie roles and storylines.
Burton shared on Twitter that she left a Hallmark job after she requested that her movie have diverse casting, including an LGBTQ character and an interracial couple.
“I was polite, direct and professional. But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my Requests were honored, I was told ‘take it or leave it’. I left it,” she wrote.
She added that her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, made enough money that she had the luxury of leaving her job over her beliefs, for which she was grateful.
“Not everyone has that!” she wrote. “Nor should we be forced to be dependent. If I had to cover our mortgage and was told ‘take it or leave it’, I’d be f***ed.”
In 2021, Burton Morgan starred alongside her husband in an episode of “The Walking Dead.” She also starred in Lifetime’s “A Christmas Wish” in 2019, and recently guest starred on “Good Sam.”
Murray has starred in numerous movies at Hallmark, including “Road to Christmas,” “Love in Winterland,” “Sand Dollar Cove,” “Write Before Christmas,” and more. In 2021 he also starred in Lifetime’s “Toying with the Holidays” and Great American Family’s “Angel Falls Christmas.”
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