Sophia Bush says she was assaulted in a room full of men while on the Chicago P.D. set—and no one helped
The #MeToo movement has done so much to spotlight what happens to victims behind closed doors in offices and workspaces. But what often doesn’t get discussed is the blatant and obvious harassment that happens in front of others, and the toxic culture that can prevent witnesses from intervening. On the December 10th episode of Armchair Expert, the podcast helmed by Dax Shepard, actress Sophia Bush opened up about this phenomenon, specifically discussing her years on the set of NBC’s Chicago P.D.
Bush, who signed on for a seven-year contract with the show in 2014, told Shepard that she often put her own needs and emotions on the back burner, always trying to be a good “team player.” However—without naming names—she also noted that her male coworkers often crossed lines—and no one ever stepped up to help.
"You start to lose your way when someone assaults you in a room full of people and everyone literally looks away, looks at the floor, looks at the ceiling, and you’re the one woman in the room and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something," she said.
She continued: “Nearing my tenure there, I was probably difficult to be around because I was in so much pain and I felt so ignored. I feel like I was standing butt naked, bruised and bleeding in the middle of Times Square, screaming at the top of my lungs and not a single person stopped to ask if they could help me.”
The former One Tree Hill star said that she eventually got out of her contract early by threatening to write an op-ed in The New York Times about her on-set experiences (but also noted that she eventually found out that then-NBC president, Jennifer Salke, had never been made aware of her complaints, and that Salke was extremely understanding once it was brought to her attention).
If we expect the culture to change, we have to also demand that people change—and that includes people who have the ability to step in and speak up for victims when they see abuse happening first-hand. We hate that this happened to Bush, but we’re glad she’s calling attention to this seldom-discussed aspect of workplace harassment.