Not holding back. Sophia Bush revealed the nitty-gritty truth about her time filming the hit teen show One Tree Hill and how she felt controlled, manipulated and “fetishized” while on set.
In an interview with the podcast Chicks in the Office, Sophia, 38, looked back on the treatment she faced on set during its nine-season run on the WB/CW network. Sophia played high schooler-turned-fashion designer Brooke Davis on the drama from 2003 until 2012. The John Tucker Must Die star explained that playing a teenager while she was in her early 20s created a weird dynamic on set. “It was weird because, in some ways, we were treated like adults,” she said.
“Looking back on it, we can see the ways in which we were fetishized and we had this lens of adultification put over us with this idea that we were supposed to know everything and have answers, and be, ultimately, professional,” Sophia continued. “When we didn’t even know what the technical terms were. It was like, ‘Get on your mark!’ And you’re like, ‘What are you talking about? What is a mark?’”
Sophia added, “We were expected to be these adults and yet, we were also looked at kind of as pawns.”
The Chicago P.D. actress then alleged that she and several of her other One Tree Hill costars — who she didn’t name — were being controlled and manipulated by people they thought they could trust.
“We had grown-ups who we trusted, who now we understand were being really controlling and manipulative who didn’t want us to be close ’cause they thought we would band together and ask for more money,” she claimed. “It’s just so weird and those were just things we were not aware of at the time.”
Sophia added that because there was no social media around during the time of the show, discussions like pay disparity or toxic work environments were unable to be had. “There was no social media where people were talking about this stuff and giving people advice and figuring out if you were being paid equitably,” she said. “We didn’t have any of that. We were just in the dark.”
The series creator Mark Schwahn was accused of sexual harassment and physical and emotional manipulation by 18 female cast and crew members in November 2017. One accuser was Sophia and her costar Hilarie Burton. Mark, 54, was later fired from the E! series The Royals just two days after the accusations came to light.
In June 2018, Sophia opened up about her allegations against Mark on Andy Cohen‘s SiriusXM show. “We’re not the only group of girls that’s ever had a boss who is a pig,” she said. “My mom’s a crazy Italian lady from New Jersey. The first time Mark Schwahn grabbed my ass. I hit him in front of six other producers. And I hit him f–king hard.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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