Melissa Joan Hart could have used a magic spell after a magazine cover nearly left her unemployed.
Hart, who starred in the fantasy comedy “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, revealed that her steamy photoshoot for Maxim magazine almost got her fired from the show during her appearance on Bud meets worldMonday Podcast.
Hart recalled the publicity ordeal when hosts Daniel Fishel, Will Friedel and Ryder Strong asked her about a photo she took with pop singer Britney Spears during the New York premiere of Hart’s “Drive Me Crazy.”
“If you look into my eyes, I’ve been crying all evening,” Hart said. “At the time, I thought this was the worst day of my life.”
Hart explained that she was dealing with a torrent of bad news during the movie’s premiere, including a breakup with her boyfriend and being fired from her role in Scary Movie. During an after party at Planet Hollywood, the “Dirty Little Secret” star said her lawyer told her her recent appearance on the cover of Maxim magazine had landed her in legal trouble.
Hart was the cover star of Maxim magazine October 1999 issue. The actress was wearing black underwear and a white sheet covering her bare chest. The cover title read: “Sabrina, your favorite witch without a stitch!”
“My lawyer showed up and said, ‘Did you do the photo shoot for Maxim?'” “I said, ‘Yeah, I did,'” Hart said. “They say, ‘Okay, you were sued and kicked off your show, so don’t talk to the press. Don’t do anything.'” “
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Hart said the magazine’s use of her character’s name “Sabrina” violated a clause in its contract with Archie Comics, publisher of the comic book series on which the sitcom is based.
“(The contract) said I would never play the character naked,” Hart said. “So, they thought I was wrong because I was playing the character. No, it was supposed to be me promoting my movie: it wasn’t supposed to be a character. I had no control over what they wrote. On the cover.”
Hart said she was able to resolve the situation – and keep her job at ‘Sabrina’ – with a letter of apology. In a stroke of luck, Hart said the controversy over Maxim’s cover gave “Drive Me Crazy” a boost in publicity.
“Can Melissa be sexy? She’s 23, is she allowed to be sexy? What’s going on here? … Why is she being kicked off her show?” Describing the media “drama” surrounding its cover, Hart said. “But that made Drive Me Crazy come out and be a huge hit.”
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