‘The O.C.’ cast respond to Mischa Barton’s “perplexing” claims about toxic set


The O.C. cast members Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke have responded to Mischa Barton’s “complexing” claims of bullying.

Following an interview Barton gave in which she said she left the teen drama in 2006 after feeling “very unprotected” on the show, her co-stars shared their thoughts on the Everything Iconic podcast.

“You know Melinda and I were talking immediately after [the interview] came out,” Bilson, who played Summer on the show, said. “And we were just like, ‘Wait, what?’”

Clarke, who played Julie on The O.C. added: “Someone who is 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 so, it kinda breaks my heart a little.

“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, um, 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 for her. And for everybody.”

The O.C.
Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts in ‘The O.C.’ (2003). Credit: Alamy Stock Photo.

Bilson also disputed Barton’s claims that she was added to the show at the last minute, with that casting call prompting her decision to leave.

“That’s misinformation,” Bilson said. “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, because I saw things a little differently.”

In her original interview, Barton said she “felt very unprotected” on the series. 

“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.”