One Tree Hill actresses Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton have claimed they were strong-armed into doing their 2006 Maxim shoot while on the show.
Their co-star Bethany Joy Lenz added that she was told she was not appearing in the magazine with her colleagues because she was ‘too fat.’
The women levelled the allegations against their old bosses on a new episode of their One Tree Hill re-watch podcast Drama Queens this Monday.
Five years ago, all three actresses joined a group of cast and crew who signed an open letter accusing One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment.
Throwback: Sophia Bush (center) and Hilarie Burton (left) have claimed they were strong-armed into doing their 2006 Maxim shoot with their co-star Danneel Harris Ackles (right)
The cover starred Bush and Burton alongside their co-star Danneel Harris Ackles, as cross-promotion connected to an episode of One Tree Hill where Burton’s character Brooke snaps Ackles’ character Rachel for a ‘Hometown Hotties’ Maxim cover.
Their new podcast episode asserted that in the run-up to the Maxim shoot, the minds behind the show were concerned with ramping up its male viewership.
Bush said that ‘we got told we had to do [Maxim], and I – because Brooke had been so sexualized on the show, and the whole idea of this like hometown hottie was Rachel’s storyline, I was like: “Look, if the girls wanna do it, that’s great. I don’t.”‘
She said she informed the brass: ‘”Like I have gone to battle trying to make Brooke less of this thing that you guys tried to force me into. I don’t wanna do it.”‘
Nowadays: Burton (left), Bush (right) and their old co-star Bethany Joy Lenz (center) made the allegations on their new podcast; they are all pictured together in September
Bush claimed that ‘I literally got told: “If you do not go and shoot this cover with your co-stars, we will guarantee you that you will never be let out for a press day, a movie, an event, any of your charities. We will keep you here forever.”‘
As Lenz wondered where Bush’s manager or lawyer was when negotiations were underway, Burton darkly brought up the ‘leverage’ their bosses had.
‘I remember getting pulled into the production office,’ said Burton: ‘and I sat on a floor while our boss was on the couch as we were given this like very friendly soft pitch that was: “Look, all the other shows have been on the cover of every single magazine and no one wants you guys. No one wants you.”‘
According to Burton, she was told: ‘”And you finally have someone that wants you and you’re really gonna turn your nose up at that?”‘
They way they were: Bush, Lenz and Burton are pictured together in a publicity shot for the show during its run, which lasted from 2003 to 2012
She noted that ‘we were on the bubble every year, and we were assured that Maxim had just been purchased by a new parent company and they had British ownership now – so they’re classing up the joint – and that it was run predominantly by women.’
Burton said of the girlie mag offer that ‘we had said no to that for years, for years! But it was very much a: “No one else wants you. The studio wants to cancel your show. If you don’t start to generate some buzz and attract these male numbers, then we’re dead and all your friends are gonna lose their jobs.”‘
‘And it’ll be your fault,’ Bush added, explaining that their employers would be able to punitively keep her on set even on days she was not scheduled to shoot by booking her in for other work-related commitments like wardrobe fittings.
‘It was such a profound threat,’ said Bush: ‘and a threat to like being able – honestly, even to have the ability to escape for a weekend a place that at this stage, like this season, I was leaving every chance I got.’
All together now: Lenz, Bush and Burton are all pictured at FYE in New York City at an event to sign autographs for One Tree Hill fans in 2005
Said she: ‘I would come into work and do my job and then I wanted out. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be with my family, I wanted to be with my friends. I did not want to be on our set. It was not a safe place for me.’
She confessed having ‘conflicting feelings’ about the cover at the time, complicated by how ‘beautiful’ and ‘stunning’ she thought Ackles and Burton looked on set ‘and this should be so fun but it’s miserable because we didn’t choose it.’
Burton, who previously alleged in Variety that Schwahn regarded her as ‘his muse’ and nonconsensually kissed her more than once, said on the new podcast episode that he showed up on the set of the Maxim shoot.
‘And he made a production out of giving me a present in front of Sophia and Danneel,’ said Burton. ‘It was an iPod that he had loaded with music he thought was applicable to me, and wanted Sophia to see it to put her in her place and he wanted Danneel to see it ’cause he was trying to make her jealous.’
Allegations: Five years ago all three actresses joined a group of cast and crew who signed an open letter accusing One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn (pictured 2015) of sexual harassment
Bush remembered seeing Burton ‘burning with discomfort’ and Burton shared how ’embarrassed’ she felt at the spectacle unfolding in front of her co-stars.
Lenz then claimed that she was told that Ackles had been selected to replace her on the Maxim shoot because of Lenz’ weight.
‘They told me that they didn’t come to me because I was too fat and I just wasn’t like, I wasn’t the hot girl, I wasn’t like a hot girl on the show anymore,’ she said.
Her co-stars were flabbergasted by Lenz’ bombshell, and Burton exclaimed: ‘Joy, they told us they asked you and you said no!’
Flashback: Burton, who is pictured in 2006, previously alleged in Variety that Schwahn regarded her as ‘his muse’ and nonconsensually kissed her more than once
With mounting fury, Bush added that ‘when I said: “I don’t wanna do it,” I was like: “But Joy’s not doing it! She said no! Why does she get to say no?” And they go: “Well, she said no so you have to say yes, and she said no first.”‘
Bush asserted further that she was told Maxim wanted a minimum of three of the show’s actresses to appear on their cover.
‘So isn’t it crazy though to realize that they scapegoated you to tell the three of us we couldn’t say no?’ she said to Lenz. ‘They threw you under the f***ing bus. I was like: “Why does she get to say no and I don’t? I don’t understand!”‘
In a lighter moment, Burton recalled: ‘Guess who wore pants in Maxim? This guy! ‘Cause I have kept this pair of white jeans for so long, ‘cause I showed up that day and was such a righteous b**** and like such like a brat, like such a baby. And I was like: “I’m wearing pants!” I’m just: “I’m uncomfortable, put me in the pants!”‘
Quintet: Lenz, Burton and Bush are pictured between their One Tree Hill co-stars James Lafferty (left) and Chad Michael Murray (right) in New York in 2004
She dished: ‘And so I’ve saved those white jeans as like a testament to: “I’m gonna wear pants in Maxim and still be cute!”‘
‘I mean, we tried our hardest,’ said Bush. ‘We got like cute vintage one-pieces and high-waisted bikinis and I was like: “Yeah, I’ll wear this like corset top that totally covers my tummy and then these shorts, and it’ll look like a 50s pinup shoot!”‘
She said with a laugh that ‘they did the thing that they loved to do to us then where they tried to make our boobs bigger’ and joked that ‘it’s like someone started making one of my boobs bigger and then went to lunch and forgot they weren’t done.’
Bush remembered: ‘So literally I have like one normal size boob and one huge boob and half a butt on one side!’