In a revealing New York essay, Joe Jonas admitted that being discovered by Disney was a blessing and a curse. "Disney is great at creating fame. They've done it with so many pop stars and young actors, from Hilary Duff to the High School Musical crew," the aspiring solo singer wrote.
"Being a part of a company like that comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude photo scandal happened," he said. "We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We'd hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn't ever mess up. We didn't want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under."
Jonas, 24, added, "Disney made us more famous than we ever knew we could be."
Dylan Sprouse—who starred in Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody from 2005-2008 and The Suite Life on Deck from 2008 to 2011—responded to Jonas' piece via Tumblr on Monday, Dec. 2.
(Dylan and his twin brother, Cole Sprouse, have taken a break from acting; they are currently enrolled at New York University. The Jonas Brothers—who disbanded in October—previously starred in their own Disney Channel show, Jonas L.A., as well as two Camp Rock movies.)
"I think it's bulls--t that they were being robbed of choice or creativity. If they wanted to, they could have told Disney 'NO.' Cole and I did this hundreds of times and we ended up all right," Dylan wrote. "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."
Dylan, 21, continued, "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 capitalize 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," he argued. "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,'" Dylan added. "My personal creed? 'Fool me once, you'll forever regret that decision.'"