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‘Our male numbers in viewership skyrocketed’: One Tree Hill Star Hilarie Burton Claims Show Intentionally Perpetuated Violence Against Women To ‘Capture the Male Audience’

Hilarie Burton

One Tree Hill had apparently been minting money by bringing women down and subjecting them to extreme discomfiture.

The show’s stars, Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush recently revealed what went on behind the scenes of their drama series, and how they “had” to do a lot of things that didn’t appeal to any of the women on the show but were nevertheless encouraged because it captivated the male audience and was ultimately good for business.

Sophia Bush and Hilaire Burton from One Tree Hill
Sophia Bush and Hilaire Burton from One Tree Hill

While talking about a Maxim photoshoot that both the stars had been forced into doing back in 2006, Hilaire Burton and Sophia Bush also recalled how the show deliberately condoned the portrayal of violence against women or put them in awkward and “super sexualized situations,” just so they could appease the male viewers.

Talk about disturbing.

One Tree Hill Stars Reveal the Ugly Reality Behind the Scenes

While talking about one of their old episodes from One Tree Hill on their podcast Drama Queens, Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush remarked how they’d been coerced to shoot for Maxim magazine and how they basically had no other choice but to conform, lest they end up getting fired instead.

What’s more, is that the Maxim storyline during the fourth season of the show was written in a very specific way because the network was adamant about keeping the male viewers highly engaged. And apparently, what kept the men in the audience entertained the most was either abusing women or sexualizing them on the screen. Burton explained how although she’d been scared by that, she’d still tried her level best to be a “good sport about it.” 

See also: “I think he’s super sexy”: Chris Evans Ghosted ‘One Tree Hill’ Star Jana Kramer Despite Actress Sliding Into His DMs, Claims Captain America Actor is a Great Kisser

Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton in One Tree Hill
Hilarie Burton talks about female characters being sexualized on One Tree Hill

“I was specifically pulled aside and told that our male numbers in viewership skyrocketed when [my character] Peyton got her ass kicked by Derek. So what you’ll see, there’s a pattern on our show, where, either violence towards women or super sexualized situations, there’s gonna be an uptick in that because they were really hot to capture the male audience. That was really frightening to me, but I had to be a good sport about it … They were trying to get the dudes for sure. They couldn’t do it with basketball, so we’ll punch a girl in the face.” 

That’s not all though, as yet another female star from the show, Bethany Joy Lenz who plays Haley James Scott on OTH, mentioned how while Bush and Burton were pushed to do the Maxim shoot, she was ostracised from the cover for being “too fat.” And that too had been presented to the other two stars in such a way, that all three of them “were pitted against each other.” 

The worst part about it all, as pointed out by the stars, was that they were constantly threatened with the prospect of losing their career’s future, which is why they had to comply with the creators even if that was the last thing they wanted.

OTH Stars Were Pressured into Doing Things They Didn’t Want to do

Sophia Bush noted that she didn’t want to be a part of the Maxim cover at all. The Chicago P.D. star said that at one point, she’d tried to voice her opinion about not wanting to sexualize her character, Brooke, more than the show already had, but all she got in response was a threat.

“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.'”

The 40-year-old businesswoman backed up Bush’s statement as she pointed out how they’d been given ultimatums concerning their jobs when it came to conform to the show’s standards for attracting “male numbers.”

See also: 19 Times TV Shows Wrote Off Main Characters’ Family Members & Created Plot Holes

Sophia Bush as Brooke
Sophia Bush as Brooke

“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, we’re dead and all your friends are going to lose their jobs.'”

There was also a time in 2017 when all three women had come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against One Tree Hill‘s creator, Mark Schwahn, who according to them had made them extremely “uncomfortable” on the set of the Maxim photoshoot.

No wonder there are so many controversies surrounding this show.

One Tree Hill is available for streaming on HBO Max.

See also: Popular Celebs Accused Of Horrible Crimes

Source: Drama Queens Podcast

Written by Khushi Shah

An author at FandomWire, an abnormal psychology student, and an avid reader of dark fiction, I love to read and write and have been indulging in the same for years.