One Tree Hill Women Claim They Were Threatened Into Doing Maxim Cover Shoot

It may have come as a bit of a surprise when the cast of “One Tree Hill” graced the cover of Maxim magazine, but the alleged story behind it is even more surprising.

Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Bethany Joy Lenz dropped some bombshell claims about how that shoot came about on the latest episode of their “Drama Queens” podcast — what beleaguered creator Mark Schwahn told them and why Lenz wasn’t part of it.

Maxim was actually a part of the show’s internal narrative as well, with the magazine featuring as part of a storyline where Bush’s Brooke took pictures of Rachel (Daneel Ackles) for the publication.

A month later, Bush was joined by Ackles and Burton on the cover of the real magazine, but she was definitely there reluctantly, per the podcast.

The women claim that the cover shoot was all part of a concerted effort to bring in male viewers. These efforts also included having the women in their underwear more and introducing an abusive male character, Matt Barr’s “Psycho Derek.”

“I know they weren’t trying to solicit basement bullies on the internet,” said Bush. “But they saw that a lot of young men were drawn to a violent assault of women and they went, ‘We should do more of that.’”

Bush said that when approached about the real Maxim cover shoot, she turned it down. “I have gone to battle trying to make Brooke less of this thing that you guys tried to force me into. I don’t want to do it,” she recalled.

According to Bush, the response she got was, “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 for ever.”

Burton then claimed that Schwahn took a somewhat different approach with her, telling her that every other show cast had done magazine covers and “no one wants you guys.”

“It was very much a, ‘No one else wants you, the studio wants to cancel your show,'” said Burton. “You don’t start to generate some buzz and attract these male numbers, we’re dead and all your friends are going to lose their jobs.”

The women also claimed that Schwahn showed up at the shoot and gifted Burton an iPod with songs he thought she might like — something they say he intentionally did in front of the other women.

“He wanted Sophia to see it, to put her in her place and he wanted Danneel to see it, because he was trying to make her jealous,” Burton claimed. “I was so embarrassed.”

As it turns out, the women uncovered another piece of some of that alleged pitting them against each other in real time during the podcast when Lenz opened up about not being part of the Maxim shoot.

They told me that they didn’t come to me because I was too fat,” she told her former co-stars, who were stunned by the revelation. “I wasn’t a hot girl on the show anymore.”

According to Burton and Bush, not only were they told that Lenz was asked and refused, that refusal was weaponized against their own reluctance to take part.

“When I said I don’t want to do it, I was like, ‘But Joy’s not doing it! She said no. Why does she get to say no?’ They go, ‘Well she said no, so you have to say yes. She said no first,'” Bush said. “They scapegoated you to tell the three of us we couldn’t say no.”

Lenz went on to say that the narrative of her being “fat” and not one of the “hot girls” carried into the show, with her character being called “a fat girl with a little head” in an episode shortly thereafter.

“From that point forward, I started getting treated like, ‘Just put Joy in the category of middle-age mom. We’re gonna do the sexy stuff with everybody else,'” she said, saying she got replaced in that role by Ackles.

The women of “One Tree Hill” have previously alleged that Schwahn would try and pit them one against the other. In an open letter to Variety, 18 women who worked on the show accused him of sexual harassment.

In the letter, he was accused of inappropriate behavior on set from those working on “One Tree Hill,” before those working on “The Royals” made similar claims in 2017, leading to him being fired from the show.

Among the allegations: Burton claimed Schwahn forcibly kissed her and put his hands down her pants at a concert, while costar Ackles backed up her account. Schwahn has never responded to the allegations.

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