‘Suite Life’ Star Defends Disney Channel Girls Who Were ‘Heavily Sexualized’

suite life disney channel

It’s common to see Disney Channel celebrities compared to one another both during and after their time on Disney Channel shows or Disney Channel Original Movies, with the main comparison being one about their mental health and their reputations — and these comparisons are far, far more prevalent when it comes to female Disney Channel celebrities. Suite Life of Zack and Cody star Cole Sprouse recently spoke to the New York Times and revealed how the treatment of his female co-stars differed from his, and how that treatment is still affecting female Disney Channel alums.

Estelle Harris, Suite Life of Zach and Cody

Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, and Estelle Harris in the ‘Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ show Credit: Disney

“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No,” the Moonshot actor responded in the interview when the New York Times asked him about “surviving early stardom”. However, Cole Sprouse has obviously noticed the huge disparity in the exploitation of his female co-stars from back then on the Disney Channel (and the extra judgment that they undergo even now), because he made a point of defending them despite his own “trauma” from fame.

Suite of life Zack and Cody Disney channel

Carey Martin, London Tipton, Maddie Fitzpatrick and Mr. Moseby, Arwin Hawkhauser, Zack Martin, Cody Martin and Esteban Ramirez in ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ (played by Brian Stepanik, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Adrian R’Mante, Kim Rhodes, Brenda Song, Ashley Tisdale, and Phil Lewis). Credit: Wikipedia

“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,” Sprouse 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.”


Kevin Jones, Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, and Nick Jonas in the Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Camp Rock’. Credit:

The Disney actors from the time of Suite Life who seem to remain affected by their time with Disney Channel or Disney filmmakers include Demi Lovato, Debby Ryan, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Tisdale, Brenda Song, Vanessa Hudgens, and Selena Gomez. Dove Cameron is a more current Disney star who has received lots of scrutiny and judgment in the same vein.


Vanessa Hudgens in an interview about ‘High School Musical’. Photo credit:

Even if one of the actresses hasn’t received negative press, she might still encounter the same situation as Lizzie McGuire actress Hilary Duff (i.e. comments about how well she’s doing ‘for a Disney Channel star’, even in comments about completely unrelated videos or interviews). Fame clearly was a challenge for Cole Sprouse too (and he’s made it clear that he’s not interested in a Suite Life reboot), but he’s also emphasized that the girls he worked with faced lots of uncomfortable situations as they were sexualized at a younger age on TV than boys were.

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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