Sophia Bush Says ‘Abusive Behavior’ Led Her to Quit ‘Chicago P.D.’
Over a year later, the actress and activist has shed some light on why she really left the series on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast.
“I programmed myself to tolerate the intolerable,” she said. Bush admitted that after visiting Onsite, a retreat that provides mental health workshops, she had an epiphany: “Part of the big break for me [was] saying, ‘No. I don’t necessarily know what it is, but I know that what’s happening is not good for me and everything has to change.’ That was a big cutoff point when I quit my job.
“I quit because, what I’ve learned is I’ve been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tug boat that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health. The reality was that my body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy,” she added.
Bush admitted that although she initially thought she’d landed her “dream job,” there were many conditions that ultimately made her unhappy, including filming in the cold Chicago weather.
“I internalized and sort of like, inhabited that role of ‘pull the tug boat’ to the point where, just because I’m unhappy or I’m being mistreated or I’m being abused at work, I’m not gonna f**k up this job for all these people and what about the camera guy whose two daughters I love and this is how he pays their rent? It becomes such a big thing,” she said. “When your bosses tell you that if you raise a ruckus, you’ll cost everyone their job, you believe them.”
Bush also spoke out about dealing with abuse on set. “When someone assaults you in a roomful of people, and every one literally looks away… and you’re the one woman in the room, and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something, you go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t worth defending? I’m not worth defending?’” she added.
Bush made her feelings known between Season 3 and 4, and gave the producer “23 episodes” to change the situation, even though she signed a signed a seven-year contract. Bush also threatened to take legal action and write an op-ed in The New York Times, but was let out of her contract.
She later discovered that her issues were being hidden from former NBC president Jennifer Salke, and Bush says she later heard from Salke.
Earlier this year, Bush also spoke out against her former show One Tree Hill for its poor work conditions. In November 2017, the teen drama’s creator Mark Schwan was accused of sexual harassment and physical and emotional abuse. Eighteen female cast and crew members wrote a letter exposing his behavior.