Mischa Barton has claimed the reason she left The O.C. was because of “bullying” that took place on the set of the show.
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Speaking in a new interview, the actor, who played Marissa Cooper in the teen drama from 2003 to 2006, said she “felt very unprotected” on the series and alleged that people were mean to her during its taping.
“There were people on that set that were very mean to me,” she told E! News. “It wasn’t, like, the most ideal environment for a young, sensitive girl who’s also been thrust into stardom to have to put up with.”
Barton, now 35, said that working on the show became more difficult for her during its second season.
Recalling her decision to leave The O.C. after three seasons, Barton said that it “had a lot to do with them adding Rachel [Bilson] in last minute as, after the first season, a series regular and evening out everybody’s pay – and sort of general bullying from some of the men on set that kind of felt really shitty”.
She added: “But, you know, I also loved the show and had to build up my own walls and ways of getting around dealing with that and the fame that was thrust specifically at me. Just dealing with the amount of invasion I was having in my personal life, I just felt very unprotected, I guess is the best way to put it.”
On her decision to talk about her exit from the show now, Barton said: “I’ve always felt ashamed in a way to really talk about what went on behind the scenes because I’ve always been a very private person and very aware of people’s feelings.
“Now that we’re living in this era where we do speak out about our experiences and women do come clean about what was really going on behind the scenes and how they were treated, it’s a slightly different thing.”