The 38-year-old actress, who played Brooke Davis on the drama series, opened up about the somewhat toxic treatment she says she experienced during her run on the show while speaking with the hosts of the “Chicks in the Office” podcast over the weekend.
The “Chicago P.D.” star says she was in her 20s when she first played Davis, a 16-year-old high school student. She explained that the age difference between her and her character often saw the writers and producers put her in uncomfortable and confusing situations.
“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,” she explained (via E! News). “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?'”
She added: “We were expected to be these adults and yet, we were also looked at kind of as pawns.”
Sophia Bush opened up about the treatment she received while on the set of “One Tree Hill.” (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
She went on to explain how she feels she was manipulated by certain “grown-ups” on the show but stopped short of naming any names.
“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 said. “It’s just so weird, and those were just things we were not aware of at the time.”
Bush also lamented the fact that at the time “One Tree Hill” was on TV, social media was not as ubiquitous as it is today. Therefore, conversations about pay disparity and toxic work environments really didn’t have a platform to express that what they were experiencing on the set was not normal.
The actress previously spoke out about the negative experience she had on the show during an appearance on Ashley Graham’s “Pretty Big Deal” podcast, noting that she got into a spat with the writers of the show after she refused to do scenes in her underwear given the fact that she was portraying someone underage.
“There was this sort of really weird thing… you look back at it, at the time I didn’t realize how inappropriate it was, but again, this is a long time ago,” Bush said at the time. “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 and to be seeking validation this way.'”
Bush’s comments echo those made by her former co-star Jana Kramer, who explained on a February episode of the “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” podcast that there was tension on the set and the cast was often divided throughout filming.
“When I was on the show … there was just some, not cattiness, but just, ‘You can’t talk to this person if you’re friends with this person,’” she explained at the time. “So I wasn’t very close to James (co-star Lafferty) because of certain situations on the set at the time.”
Both women came forward in 2017 to accuse series creator Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment during their time on the show. Schwahn was fired from “The Royals” in 2017, years after the end of “One Tree Hill,” after more than 40 women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.