Mischa Barton’s former The O.C. co-stars don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with her when it comes to their time on the hit show!
As we reported, Barton recently spilled some major tea about “what was really going on behind the scenes” of the teen soap on the 15th anniversary of her getting killed off the show, revealing that on-set “bullying” was one of the reasons she decided to exit the series.
Well, Mischa’s former castmates Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke were asked to weigh in on those claims on the latest episode of their Welcome to The O.C., Bitches podcast — and they apparently have no idea what The Hills: New Beginning star is talking about!
The claims were brought up by podcaster Danny Pellegrino during his appearance on Bilson and Clarke’s hit new show, in which they rewatch the entire series with guests. Although the full episode won’t drop until later in the season, the Hart of Dixie star said they released this segment early “in hopes Mischa would hear us talk about it and would be willing to come join us on the show so we could hear her entire perspective and what she is saying that she experienced.”
Man, they really want to get this settled!
Here’s what we know about Mischa’s perspective so far: she told E! last month that while she looked back at her time on the show “pretty fondly,” she noted “there’s stuff I think people did wrong” and claimed some people on set were “very mean” to her.
Mischa also specifically name dropped Rachel when asked when conversations about Marissa Cooper getting written off started, sharing:
“It had a lot to do with them adding Rachel 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 s***ty.”
On the podcast episode, Pellegrino asked whether Bilson and Clarke “understood what she was trying to say in terms of why she left the show” — to which Rachel replied:
“Melinda and I were talking immediately after it came out, like, ‘What?’”
Clarke took a minute to consider what Barton might have been going through at the time, noting:
“The one thing going into this podcast — and Rachel and I discussed this — I can tell you about my experience with total honesty and transparency, I cannot speak for somebody else’s experience. We have touched on this, that someone who’s 16, 17, 18, that amount of hours of work, pressure, at such a young age, at best you’re exhausted and at worst, it’s overwhelming and chaotic.”
However, she went on to reveal that she found some of Mischa’s comments “perplexing,” adding:
“It kind of breaks my heart a little to know — we knew there was a lot of pressure on her — but if it was really that bad of an experience, that’s not right for any young person. But some of the comments were very perplexing to me, so I don’t know what the truth is about that. I do know that, yes, this was an enormous amount of pressure.”
Rachel was also baffled by her former onscreen bestie’s comments — particularly that one involving her. She clarified:
“In one of her first comments she said that I was added last minute after the first season, which is actually completely false and not what happened. So it’s starting out that way, I was like, ‘Well, that’s misinformation. Where is she going with this and what is she trying to say?’ I would actually like to talk to her and find out what her experience was from her perspective. I saw things a little differently, I guess.”
As Clarke explained, both her and Rachel’s characters (Julie Cooper and Summer Roberts, respectively) were originally intended to be series regulars, “but the powers that be” changed their minds and had them as guest stars for the first 11 episodes of the first season. After that, they became series regulars — which is notably not the same as Mischa’s “last minute” casting change claims.
The 52-year-old went on to muse:
“So that was a little perplexing. We all do know that now, in the early 2000s, the scrutiny of the young ladies going out and the Nicole Richies and the Parises and Lindsays and Mischas, there was a lot of attention and just by being out there somehow it got turned against them and we’re finding out it may have been quite a toxic environment. Rachel and I both think it’s important, if she wants to come and talk to us and share her story, we would love to explore that. I think it’s something we’re all becoming aware of and it’s important for us to learn in our culture what can be very damaging to young people… Hollywood is notorious for doing 18-20 hour days, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But being that young, I do think it can be an additional stress.”
Pellegrino then brought up Mischa’s claims about being bullied by some of the men on set, saying it felt like she was “alluding to cast members.” Bilson replied:
“I’m definitely pretty confused by most of it and I don’t know who she’s referring to. I didn’t personally witness any of that, so I don’t know who she’s referring to or what, because I didn’t see it myself.”
Clarke agreed, adding:
“I did not either. Like I said, everyone has their own experience and it, to me, I couldn’t wait to get to work. It was like going to musical theater camp, I just loved being there.”
Bilson pointed out the interview sent “kind of mixed messages” about Barton’s time on set, but Clarke made sure to sympathize with her former onscreen daughter, adding:
“But when you literally, a human being, is the star of a show and you are working incredibly long hours and you’re the ‘It Girl’ and everybody wants a piece of you and the paparazzi wants you and you have agents and managers telling you, ‘You’re getting offered all of these movies and because you’re on this show you can’t take these offers,’ what do you do with all of that? How do you process all of that without feeling like you don’t have freedom to do what you want and maybe this show is a grind… We can only imagine that it was pretty overwhelming and how to navigate these waters at that age.”
Yikes. It almost sounds like they were on a completely different show altogether!
Mischa did tease that she would be doing projects which would allow her to go more in detail about her time on the series, so we don’t expect her to take Bilson’s invitation to air out her grievances. But hopefully we — and Mischa’s “perplexed” former co-stars — will get answers soon!
What do U think really went down, Perezcious readers? Watch the latest episode (below) and share your thoughts in the comments.
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