“We have concluded our investigation and Mark will not be returning to The Royals,” Lionsgate said in a statement to Us on Thursday, December 21. “The fourth season of the show has already completed production and will air as scheduled on E! in the spring.”
The news comes one month after Lionsgate Television and Universal Cable Productions suspended the 51-year-old showrunner after more than 40 women came forward with allegations against him.
“E! Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television take sexual harassment allegations very seriously, investigate them thoroughly and independently and take appropriate action,” the studios’ statement to Us read at the time. “Lionsgate has suspended Mark Schwahn from The Royals as we continue our investigation.”
As previously reported, writers Audrey Wauchope and Rachel Specter recalled inappropriate encounters they had with a showrunner, later identified as the One Tree Hill creator, via Twitter in late November. Soon after, The Royals’ Alexandra Park shared her alleged experience with Schwahn in a Twitter post, claiming that she had been exposed to his “reprehensible behavior.”
Park’s costars Tom Austen and Elizabeth Hurley offered their support, as did One Tree Hill alums Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Jana Kramer, who have used their platforms to condemn Schwahn and accuse him of more sexual misconduct during the run of their show, which aired from 2003 to 2012.
Wauchope expressed her support for Schwahn’s dismissal in a Twitter post on Thursday. “The end. Thank you to Lionsgate and E! for making this decision and validating the women and men who have come forward,” she wrote. “We burnt it down sis.”
Bush echoed Wauchope’s statements in her own tweet: “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. To the other predators out there? I hope this is a lesson that sometimes, even it it takes time, justice is served. You’re next.”
Burton, 35, called for Schwanhn’s firing in a Twitter post late last month. “It’s amazing to me that @nbc can fire [Matt] Lauer, but Mark Schwahn — after over 40 women have come forward — is still on ‘suspension’ over at @e_entertainment,” she tweeted. “We just waiting for the whole thing to blow over? New day, new headline? Fire the predator. #BurnItDownSis.”
Schwahn has yet to respond to the allegations.