Ex-Disney Star Blows Whistle: Children Are 'Heavily Sexualized' by Channel
Child actor Cole Sprouse lifts the lid on Disney Channel's treatment of kids
A former child actor has blown the whistle on Disney by revealing that the Channel's child stars are "heavily sexualized."
Ex-Disney Channel star Cole Sprouse told The New York Times that the kids' network is "sexualizing" female child actors to the point it drives them to "trauma."
He emphasizes that his experience as a child actor is far different from females’ experiences.
Sprouse shot to fame at a young age, staring in the Adam Sandler movie "Big Daddy."
However, he now says that after working as a child actor on the Disney Channel, he's lucky that he "made it out" of the experience "unscathed."
He says that it's the sexualization of children that he witnessed that is responsible for "child stars going nuts."
The Times asked Sprouse: "People like to talk about former child stars in this dichotomy of either they spiral out of control or, somehow, ‘come out OK.’
"Do you think it’s possible for anyone to actually come through that experience unscathed?”
The “Moonshot” actor responded:
"My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No.”
"The young women on the channel we were on [Disney Channel] were so heavily sexualized from such an earlier age than my brother and I that there’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences.
"And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience.”
"When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma,” he continued.
"So I’m violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger because I don’t feel like it adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover.”
"And, to be quite honest, as I have now gone through a second big round of this fame game as an adult, I’ve noticed the same psychological effects that fame yields upon a group of young adults as I did when I was a child,” he added.
"I just think people have an easier time hiding it when they’re older.”
Sprouse and his twin brother Dylan landed big roles when they were just children, starring in the comedy “Big Daddy” and then scoring starring roles in Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” when they were just 12 years old.
The duo “burned out” in the acting world by the time they were 18, the report said.
After Sprouse graduated from New York University, he gave TV one more go and landed a spot on the popular show “Riverdale.”
"I started acting when I was so young that I hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if I really enjoyed performance,” Sprouse recently explained.
"When I returned, I reminded myself that I do very much love the art of acting.
"But I still have a very complicated relationship to celebrity culture.”