One Tree Hill’s Craig Sheffer Says Creator Mark Schwahn "Threatened to Fire" Him

One Tree Hill's Craig Sheffer, who played Uncle Keith, spoke to Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz about his conflict with series creator Mark Schwahn.

By Cydney Contreras Apr 06, 2022 3:16 PMTags
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Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz continue to peel back the curtain on the drama that went down on the One Tree Hill set. 

On the Drama Queens podcast's April 4 episode, the actresses spoke to co-star Craig Sheffer about his experience with show creator Mark Schwahn, who he says blindsided him by killing off his character, Uncle Keith. As Sheffer told it, Schwahn had told him previously that he'd remain on the CW series "as long as the show runs." 

But then, Sheffer said Schwahn called him ahead of filming season three, saying, "‘Yeah, so good news and bad news.' Tells me all about this great thing, [and says,] ‘And then Paul shoots you.' I go, ‘Okay, so I'm dead? Does that mean I don't get paid anymore?' He was like, ‘Yeah.'"

The cast went on to film the shocking episode, in which Keith tries to stop school shooter Jimmy Edwards (Colin Fickers). The gunman ultimately turns the gun on himself, but Dan (Paul Johansson) kills Keith and pins the death on Jimmy. 

18 Shocking Secrets About One Tree Hill Revealed

His character being killed off was one of many events that Sheffer took issue with, adding that Schwahn "threatened to fire" him over trivial things like his facial hair. "It got to a point where they're calling my agent like, ‘If this power struggle is going to continue, we're just going to get rid of him," he said. "That kind of stuff, they break down your soul."

Bobby Bank/Getty Images

The hosts sympathized with Sheffer over what Sophia called "controlling and gross and misogynistic" behavior on Mark's part. "Mark lost his mind on me," she said. "You know what he said to me? A grown man who was my boss. I was 22, 23. He goes, ‘Who the f--k told you you could cut bangs? You know who had bangs? All the f--king cheerleaders in high school who never wanted to have sex with me.' I was like, ‘What's happening?'"

The One Tree Hill stars have previously spoken about the show's toxic work environment on numerous occasions, with Bush telling CBS Mornings in January that their podcast is "really about reclaiming our show."

The WB

She continued, "You have these great memories, but you also have some things you went through that were less than ideal. But I think so many people, not just in our industry, but many industries—you've heard so many people talk about the toxic work culture, and it's a strange thing when you have kind of the good and the bad wrapped up in the thing that launched your career."

Schwahn hasn't commented on the allegations, which first emerged when the cast wrote an open letter accusing him of sexual harassment in 2017. 

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