Fans of One Tree Hill know one of the best places to rub shoulders with the cast is at the annual charity basketball game organized by its hoops-obsessed star, James Lafferty.
But not this year.
In a statement posted on OTHfans.com, Lafferty – who has hosted the game in Wilmington, N.C., for the past five years – says problems with fans have gotten in the way of the fun.
“As a result of constant harassment and gross invasions of privacy via e-mail and telephone, targeting myself, my friends and even my family, I no longer feel comfortable holding a fundraiser in such an intimate setting with fans,” he wrote in the statement.”
Lafferty, 23, has said the game is one of his favorite ways of giving back to the show’s audience, and last year, more than 1,300 fans paid $25 each to pack the stands of Cape Fear Community College’s Schwartz Center. Proceeds went to St. Jude Children s Research Hospital, Winnie s Garden and the Wilmington Family YMCA.
“It is frustrating and discouraging that a few have ruined it for the many this year,” Lafferty wrote, without giving details. “Thank you to all the fans who have been gracious, cordial and supportive of the charity events in the past, and thank you for understanding.”
Lafferty is one of the more accessible members of the One Tree Hill cast. During the Wilmington’s Sea Dawgs inaugural basketball season, he and local filmmakers shot a documentary about the minor league team. The film, For Keeps, debuted in 2008 at Wilmington’s Cucalorus Film Festival. Lafferty and other cast members sat in the crowd with film buffs and fans alike.