Sophia Bush said the women on 'One Tree Hill' were treated like 'small dogs and purses' instead of complete characters
Sophia Bush believes female "One Tree Hill" characters were afterthoughts, comparing them to "small dogs and purses."
She and two former "OTH" costars started the "Drama Queens" podcast to take their "power back."
Bethany Joy Lenz said that doing "Drama Queens" allowed her to "learn to trust" her friends again.
Sophia Bush may be beloved for her role as cheerleader and fashion designer Brooke Davis on "One Tree Hill," but she recently told The New York Times that she believes female characters on the show were an afterthought.
"We were kind of treated like the early 2000s character versions of small dogs and purses. We were accessories for the boys," Bush, who played Brooke throughout the teen drama's entire run from 2003 to 2012, told the Times in a joint interview with former costars Bethany Joy Lenz and Hilarie Burton.
The "Good Sam" star pointed to the fact that while many of the male characters on "One Tree Hill" had full lives and fleshed-out families that viewers saw on-screen, her character and Lenz's character Haley, in particular, didn't have storylines involving their characters' own parents until after the show's time jump in season five.
Bush, Lenz, and Burton have previously spoken out about their negative experiences working on "One Tree Hill." In 2017, the three actors signed an open letter alongside female former coworkers detailing examples of how they were "manipulated psychologically and emotionally" when they were in their young 20s by their former boss, "One Tree Hill" creator Mark Schwahn.
The letter, published by Variety, stated that in some situations, the women had to "learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be." Schwahn was fired in December 2017 from his role as showrunner on the E! show "The Royals" after cast and crew members of that show also accused Schwahn of "repeated unwanted sexual harassment" in their own open letter.
Insider was unable to reach Schwahn, who has never publicly responded to the allegations, for comment.
Lenz also told the Times that she felt "bullied" by unnamed people in power on the show, adding that she, Burton, and Bush were constantly pitted against each other, which she believes was done so that they wouldn't form the strong bond that their characters had on "One Tree Hill" with each other in real life. Lenz said she felt like she "couldn't trust anybody" because she was frequently told that no one on set liked her.
Lenz said she didn't learn until many years later when the women began comparing experiences that Bush and Morgan were told the same things on the "One Tree Hill" set. The trio, who say their bond only strengthened after the show ended, decided to start the "Drama Queens" podcast to rewatch their cult-classic hit together and "heal some of those past wounds and traumas," Bush told the Times.
Burton, Lenz, and Bush wanted to take "power back" through their podcast endeavor and reclaim "One Tree Hill" for themselves and the fans, Bush said.
Lenz said she now has a "take two" on her relationship with her cohosts so that she can "learn to trust" and to let her "guard down and be vulnerable" with Burton and Bush.
The rewatch experience is valuable for the actors because they know how much fans care about their "One Tree Hill" alter egos. Lenz said that "girls, especially, were really looking for authentic, positive female friendships" at the time the series aired in the early 2000s.
"It was the right place at the right time with the right combination of grounded authenticity and positivity and female friendships," Lenz added.
New episodes of the "Drama Queens" podcast are available to stream on Mondays.
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