Sophia Bush starred on the show One Tree Hill from 2003-2012. She was 21 when she started, but she played 16-year-old Brooke Davis. We know now that unfortunately, the women who worked on the show were terrorized by the showrunner, Mark Schwahn, who routinely harassed and assaulted them. Sophia was one of the women who put her name to a letter publicly exposing and admonishing his sick behavior. While on Ashley Graham’s podcast, Pretty Big Deal, Sophia once again discussed exactly how deep this cretin’s perversity went. Sophia said she had to fight to get her teenage character covered up because the show kept writing her into her underwear.
Sophia Bush is opening up about the on-set battles she got into with her boss on One Tree Hill.
During an appearance on Ashley Graham’s Pretty Big Deal podcast, the 37-year-old actress — who played Brooke Davis for nine seasons on The WB/CW show — revealed that she “fought a lot” with her boss and the writers on set, especially after she was asked to play scenes as her teenage character in her underwear.
The request, Bush said, wasn’t one she accepted without a fight.
“I was sort of unaware of the power dynamics at play and I would just say things. I’d be like, ‘I’m not doing this. Stop writing [these] scenes,’ ” Bush recalled.
“You look back at it, at the time I didn’t realize how inappropriate it was, but again, this was a long time ago,” Bush added. “I remember my boss kept writing scenes for me to be in my underwear. And I was like, ‘I’m not doing this. This is inappropriate. Like, I don’t think this is what we should be teaching 16-year-old girls to be doing, to be seeking validation this way.’ “
The response Bush claims she got from her boss — who she never specifically named on the podcast — was shocking, she said.
“He literally said to me, he goes, ‘Well, you’re the one with the big f—king rack everybody wants to see,’ ” said Bush. “And I was like, [gasp], ‘What? Well, I’m not doing it!’ “
Bush said she showed up to film the next episode in a turtleneck “to be spiteful.”
“I was like, ‘This is just how I’m gonna dress on the show from now on if you don’t stop writing these scenes,’ ” she remembered. “I was really ballsy, and I didn’t even know it. I just wasn’t wanting to perpetuate this sort of behavior that I didn’t think was appropriate.”
When I first saw the headlines for this story, I thought Sophia was 16 at the time she filmed it (I didn’t watch the show). But now that I see she was 21 and thinking of 16-year-olds, it impresses me in more ways than one. She’s absolutely right about sending the right messages to teenagers. I appreciate that her being, “unaware of the power dynamics at play,” allowed her to stand up for her character. And I truly applaud her outright defiance by showing up in a turtleneck to further her point.
This story illuminates another arm to the toxic culture in Hollywood. Obviously, there are countless women directly affected by serial assaulters. But I kind of overlooked how these same scumbags forward their agenda by reaching through the screen to other women and girls, telling them this is how we think you should measure your self-worth. Fortunately, Sophia saw it. I hope Sophia and all of his victims have found the measures they need to deal with the abuse to which they were subjected. I also hope this man never works again. According to his IMDb, he hasn’t since being suspended from The Royals. That was only a year and a half ago but who knows, maybe the tides are turning, and awful people don’t get put back in power again. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Photo credit: WENN/Avalon Photos