Former Disney child star Cole Sprouse, star of children’s shows like The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, said that Disney heavily sexualized young girls.
During an interview with the New York Times, Sprouse said that he has a complicated relationship with “celebrity culture.”
“I started acting when I was so young that I hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if I really enjoyed the performance,” he said. “When I returned, I reminded myself that I do very much love the art of acting. But I still have a very complicated relationship with celebrity culture.”
“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No,” he said, “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.”
He said that female Disney child actors went through “trauma” and had to deal with being hypersexualized in Hollywood.
“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 argued. “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 [they] adequately comprehend … the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover.”
The comments ring similar to those of the Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, who started acting at age 8.
“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.
“There is darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened,” he said.