raised non-Peter Gallagher eyebrows last month when she spoke with E! News
about her less-than-stellar experience behind the scenes of the iconic teen soap "The O.C."
The actor attributed her abrupt departure from the series (relive your middle school heartbreak here, if you dare) in part to co-star Rachel Bilson
being promoted to series regular “last minute” after the first season, which she claimed resulted in “evening out everybody’s pay.”
Barton also claimed to have been the victim of "bullying
" on set from men, which left her "not really feeling protected by my cast and crew," some of whom she claimed were "very mean" during her time on the show.
But Bilson recalls things differently, sharing her perspective on the episode on her new podcast "Welcome To The O.C., Bitches!" with co-star Melinda Clarke, who famously played Barton's character's mother on the show.
“You know, Melinda and I were talking right after [the interview
] came out, and we were like, ‘Wait, what?’” Bilson explained.
Bilson was particularly irritated by Barton's "completely false" framing of her casting.
,” she said, “where are we 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,” she said.
Clarke, who began as a recurring character on the show, went on to say, "We were originally supposed to be series regulars during the pilot, and they do that because they see a future for these characters, but then the powers that be said, 'No, you're going to have to wait, you're going to be guest stars for the first 11 episodes,' and on the back nine [episodes] we became series regulars."
Both of Barton's former co-stars say they are unaware of her bullying allegations.
“I mean, I'm definitely pretty confused by most of it,” Bilson admitted, adding, “I don't know who she's referring to because I didn't personally witness
any of that.”
“I didn't either,” Clarke added, “but we can only imagine it was pretty, overwhelming, and just how to navigate these waters at that age.”
Despite the fact that the drama is decades old, there doesn't appear to be much bad blood among the cast members, with Clarke mentioning how much pressure Barton was under at the time.
“Someone who is 16, 17, 18 — that amount of hours of work
[and] pressure at such a young age — at best, you’re exhausted, and at worst, it’s overwhelming and chaotic, so it kind of breaks my heart to know,” she explained.
“We knew there was a lot of pressure, but if it was really that bad of an experience, that's not right for any young person; however, some of the comments were very perplexing to me, so I'm not sure what the truth is about that.”
Bilson extended an olive branch to Barton by inviting her to appear on the podcast "so we could hear her entire perspective and what she is saying she experienced."
The interview can be found below.