This week, Joe Jonas opened up about sex, drugs and Disney Channel's definition of rock 'n' roll, and while he does explain the recent breakup of the Jonas Brothers and what kind of solo career he hopes to pursue next, he also repeatedly bashes the network on which the trio first rose to international fame.
In New York magazine’s "Joe Jonas: My Life as a Jonas Brother," Jonas observed that Disney Channel has a knack for pulling "spunky" stars into the spotlight, and then pushes them off the edge. "Being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever," he said, noting that Vanessa Hudgens was held in Disney offices for a day after her nude-photo scandal in 2007.
"Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, Screw all this, I’m just going to show people who I am," he continued, as former Disney Channel personalities like Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan have since worked to shed the images built while with the company. "I think that happened to a lot of us. Disney kids are spunky in some way, and I think that’s why Disney hires them. 'Look, he jumped up on the table!' Five, six, ten years later, they’re like, 'Oh! What do we do?' Come on, guys. You did this to yourselves."
Because of the network's young audience, he said he constantly felt pressure to "sugarcoat" his career, and was taught that "playing dumb" is the best public relations strategy. And of the band's Jonas sitcom, he said: "It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at. They took out the kissing scene that Nick had. I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20 (when the show was done, I cut my hair off and grew as much of a beard as I could)."
His "Camp Rock" co-star Demi Lovato, whom Jonas revealed he tried drugs with for the first time and stayed with because he had a "brand to protect," tweeted her support of his magazine confessional. She wrote, "love you brother. #family/friendsforever".
But not all Disney Channel stars are siding with Jonas, such as Zendaya Coleman of "Shake It Up!"
— Zendaya Coleman (@Zendaya) December 2, 2013
Dylan Sprouse, who starred in "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and its spinoff "The Suite Life on Deck" with his twin brother, Cole, took to his blog to express his disdain for Jonas' ungrateful take.
"First, I think it’s bullshit that they were being robbed of choice or creativity. If they wanted too, they could have told Disney 'NO,' " he said in response to a reader who asked what he thought of the magazine confessional. While he acknowledge that many new artists assume that they must follow what bosses would frame as a "rigid structure to achievement," he clarified that "If you believe this, not only are you incredibly foolish, but you are a BAD ARTIST."
Read Sprouse's full response below:
I read the article and I have a couple things to say. Most formally the idea that Disney and the corporations “gentrified them.”
First, I think it’s bullshit that they were being robbed of choice or creativity. If they wanted too, they could have told Disney “NO”. Cole and I did this hundreds of times and we ended up all right. The only reason they didn’t is because, like many of the people on that channel, I think they fell for the allure of fame. Granted, Cole and I had been acting our entire lives, so we saw it as a means to an end (money making) rather than an opportunity to become successful.
Nowadays artists just assume they have to do what they are told by their proprietors because there is a “rigid structure to achievement”. It is nothing more than a scheme to rob you of your individuality and capitalise the gain they acquire from such treachery. If you believe this, not only are you incredibly foolish, but you are a BAD ARTIST. Individuality is modernity’s most interesting trait regarding artwork and so so many talented individuals realize this. You do not have to become something else to be successful. Not only is it not too late for them to redefine themselves now, it was never too late.
What that article felt like was: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, still shame on you.”
My personal creed? “Fool me once, you’ll forever regret that decision.”
- This article originally appeared in THR.com.