Dark secrets behind Disney Channel

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It’s strict!

JoJo Baker, Student Writer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hi, I’m JoJo Baker and you’re watching Disney Channel! Do you remember when stars were required to do that before their show aired? The viewers believed it to be one of the coolest rules that Disney Channel inflicted on their stars. The thing is, we never stopped to think about the additional rules that Disney Channel demanded from them. According to a January article on TheList, there are 12 rules that Disney Channel stars had to do all the time. 

  • Pressured music from the stars
      1. Considering that almost every single Disney Channel program has some form of singing, this rule isn’t a huge surprise. Even singers with huge careers, such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus couldn’t handle the pressure of balancing music and the multiple projects they’ve done. However, Shia LaBoeuf told MTV News he was one of the only stars who denied Disney’s request for him to sing. “I went a whole different route,” LaBeouf began explaining. “I never came out with a music thing, even though [Disney will] push you that way.” He continued, “I didn’t just want to be a churn-’em-out guy. I never really felt like I fit in there.” 
  • No risqué lyrics 
      1. Disney Channel was big on influencing their stars to sing as I’ve mentioned. However, the artists were not allowed to sing risqué lyrics. The Jonas Brothers are a prime example, the brothers recently spoke to Us Weekly about how Disney influenced them to have the purest music and keep it low.  Nick Jonas added that while they were filming Jonas season two, they had to sing a song called “Pizza Girl,” regarding the boys falling in love with an actual pizza girl. “I’m actually ashamed of my lack of creativity in the song-writing department, because they said, ‘We need you to write a song about how you fall in love with the pizza girl, and then you eat pizza every day,'” Jonas explained. “And the chorus is literally that [‘I fell in love with the pizza girl; now I eat pizza every day].” 
  • Dress code
      1. Not only did Disney continuously choose what the stars would say, but they also chose what the stars would wear. Disney personally bought clothes for their stars and insisted they wear them rather than their own choices. Disney chose clothes specifically to keep their pure image. Disney demanded stars wear branded clothes and be modest. Much like a high school’s dress code, Disney’s dress code mainly limits females. 
  • You always have to work, even through personal issues
      1. Disney put constant stress on a lot of underdeveloped minds, which caused a lot of their stars to become trainwrecks. Even while the stars were dealing with personal issues, the rules and work Disney required did not lessen. Miley Cyrus had recently spoken about this during an interview with Marie Claire regarding how she got her first period while wearing white pants, and she still had to show up on set. “It was so embarrassing, but I couldn’t leave,” Cyrus said. “And I was crying, begging my mom, ‘You’re going to have to put the tampon in. I have to be on set.'” Constantly being ready to go on set is probably one of Disney’s strictest rules; be ready with no issues. Cyrus also mentioned in her interview that she would begin to get hot flashes and anxiety attacks. “I’d feel like I was about to pass up or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows, and I’d have to cancel.” 
  • You have to continue looking young 
      1. One way that Disney Channel kept their stars looking young was by banning beards. This was a major deal breaker with Disney If you had a beard or a mustache you’re in trouble. Disney was known for reprimanding or even fining their stars for having any sort of facial hair. Joe Jonas recently wrote an essay for Vulture explaining how strict Disney Channel really was and how fed up he was with it. “But the thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible,” Jonas started off. “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.” He noted, “When the show was done, I cut my hair off and grew as much of a beard as I could.” 
  • They own the star’s name
      1. Disney stars who used their real names could easily lose the rights to it. Miley Cyrus thought playing pop star Hannah Montana would increase her stardom, which it did. However, what Cyrus wasn’t aware of was that Disney now owned her name. They asked her to use her name for the show, and she was very much willing to do that. However, by using her name on the show Disney now owned the name “Miley” and could use it with further branding. She had to go through a significant amount of legal debates in order to get her name back, which she successfully has.
  • They can demand a certain tone in your voice along with the speech 
      1. Bella Thorne is most likely one of the wildest former Disney stars there is. Disney completely altered her entire personality by creating a red-headed angel. Disney forced Bella to alter her voice to a high pitch tone rather than her “husky rasp” tone to be deemed “innocent.”
  • Disney gets paid for the deaths of stars 
      1. Disney gets paid millions of dollars when a former star passes away. Now, this isn’t to be spiteful or plain rude, this is to compensate for any losses of production. According to Insurance Insider, Disney received $50 million after the unfortunate passing of Stars Wars actress, Carrie Fisher. During the Star Wars Force Awaken franchise, Fisher had a severe heart attack on December 27th. 
  • During interviews, they have to play dumb
      1. When it comes to a question regarding Disney Channel or an actor’s personal life, every actor had the same answer: Play dumb. The actors would have to change the subject to avoid conflict. Whether that’s talking about their dog or the classic “here’s a funny story” line.
  • Forced to compete
      1. The epic friendship duo, Zendaya, and Bella Thorne came out to speak the truth. They were pitted against each other because Disney wanted to create a bit of tension. In an interview with J-14, Thorne explained what really happened by saying they were “put in a very unfortunate position where we were kind of forced to compete against each other, which made the whole first season of the show just very awkward for us,” Throne said. “We wanted to love each other, but yet we were constantly being put against each other. It was, ‘Who’s better at this?’ and ‘Who’s better at that?’”
  • You have to stay in your relationships
      1. Who was your favorite Disney couple? Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas? Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas? Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron? According to the article on TheTalko, Disney encouraged their celebrities to date and influenced them to date within the Disney crew. Although Disney would have loved to restrict them from dating altogether, they would influence them to stay in relationships to maintain their image.
  • Always be in character
      1. The Disney stars were persuaded into continuing their roles when the cameras were off. If your favorite star was the kindest person there was, they would have to continue being that kind when meeting fans.  Multiple former Disney stars have confirmed that this was a problem they all faced. Based on the article, TheTalko, some even mentioned that if their characters were a bit rude and arrogant they would have to continue that role towards their fans. 

COD student Kaitlyn Arnold said her favorite Disney shows are “That’s So Raven” and “Hannah Montana.”

Kaitlyn Arnold
Student Kaitlyn Arnold!

 “Both shows had a lot of life lessons that influenced me growing up as a child,” she said. “Also, they were both hilarious in different ways.”

Like many Disney fans, Arnold also has favorite characters she idolized. 

“It’s definitely Raven or even Corey, her, brother because they have this sense of humor that was everything I wanted for my brother and me,” Arnold said “They were absolutely hilarious, and I definitely thought that those lessons were so much better than Hannah Montana’s.” 

Arnold also said she looked up to Selena Gomez’s character, Alex, from Wizards of Waverly Place.

“I was like I wanna be that funny and aggressive.” 

Arnold said if she knew what was going on between Disney and her favorite stars while she was still an avid fan, she probably would have kept watching anyway.

“The Disney shows I watched definitely shaped my childhood and shaped who I am as an adult,” she said.

 

For more information, please check out these links. 

https://www.thelist.com/181645/strict-rules-disney-stars-have-to-follow/ 

http://www.mtv.com/news/1556745/shia-labeouf-on-living-down-disney-why-he-wont-do-juwanna-mann-2/  

https://www.thetalko.com/things-the-disney-channel-needs-to-stop-doing-to-its-stars/ 

https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/movies-tv/g2579/truths-about-being-a-disney-channel-star/ 

https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/movies-tv/g2579/truths-about-being-a-disney-channel-star/