When originally conceived in the early 1980s, the Disney Channel was probably just a way for what was then called The Walt Disney Company to stick its toe into the waters of the growing cable television world. It started as a pay television service, like HBO, and wasn’t put on the basic cable lineups for a few years. Back then, the channel was geared at a younger audience and most of the programming was cartoons and older movies from the Disney archives.
The world changed in 30 years and now The Disney Channel seems like little more than a casting call for future Maxim models and petty criminals. It’s almost harder to find a person who was on a Disney Channel show now in their mid-20s who hasn’t been involved in one kind of scandal or another. Those who aren’t involved in a scandal are quick to shed their “good girl” or “good guy” ways once they’re off the Mouse Network and this usually means taking off most of their clothes so we can see they’re an adult making their own calls.
This has to irritate the executives at The Disney Channel. Here are a group of people who create very similar shows year after year, aimed at middle America, featuring attractive kids who know how to deliver punchlines. All of the shows wrap up whatever problem is happening in 22 minutes and viewers everywhere are left with a redeeming message. With all of the shows that have been produced, some of the messages (stay true to your friends, be yourself, don’t lie) have been hammered over viewers heads too many times.
But, that programming is safe and it makes money. The executives are proud to stand behind it. But inevitably, one of the stars of a show goes off and does something that embarrasses the Disney Channel. If they had their way, millions of photos that have made their way into the public eye would never have been seen because they reflect poorly on the network. And when something reflects poorly and may be sexy and/or embarrassing, we’re there! Here are 20 Photos Disney Channel Execs Don’t Want You to See.
20. Emmy Rossum becomes Shameless
The Disney Channel is quick to point out when someone who turned into a big star was featured in one of their television shows or movies, but we just never hear them bring up Emmy Rossum’s name despite the fact her first starring role was in the 1999 original movie Genius and she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for the role. We’re guessing it’s because she appears naked in almost every episode of the Showtime hit Shameless, playing William H. Macy’s responsible, yet very sexually active daughter Fiona. The show is terrific, at least much better than Genius, which is cheesy even by Disney Channel standards. Rossum played Claire, the daughter of a hockey coach who strikes up a friendship with a mega-genius named Charlie who is masquerading as bad-boy Chaz. You can probably figure out where this all goes. Thankfully for us, it leads to an adult Rossum bouncing up and down on various guys on Showtime.
19. The greatest ode to Disney Channel startlets
We can just imagine what the Disney Channel top dogs’ weekly meeting was like when somebody introduced the fact a new movie was being made called Spring Breakers and it was going to feature two of their biggest female stars – High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens and Wizards of Waverly Places’ Selena Gomez – in a decidedly un-Disneylike movie. And this wasn’t 10 years after their high-profile Disney days. This was months after Waverly finished airing original episodes and not long after High School Musical 2 broke Disney Channel ratings records. The plot of Spring Breakers? These girls meet a shady drug dealer and descend into a world of sex, drugs, alcohol, crime and violence…all while wearing next to nothing. The movie was panned by some critics and landed on others’ Top 10 lists for the year. We’re guessing the braintrust at Disney was in that first camp.
18. Miley Cyrus takes on the world
If we were going to run every picture ever taken of Miley Cyrus that Disney Channel executives have winced when seeing, this list would probably have somewhere north of 2 million entries. It would be next to impossible to try to be as big a cringe inducer as Cyrus has been over the years between her drug use, open sexuality, R-rated concerts, bawdy talk and frequent appearances without clothing. It would take a unique person to ever equal the night-and-day change we saw from Hannah Montana, which is ironic, since the show was all about somebody acting one way but really being another. As Cyrus gets a little older she seems to be toning down the theatrics and drama a bit, but that’s like saying Madonna eventually toned things down. Why this photo specifically? Why not? Cyrus and a hot girl, eating what looks like a giant…uh…churro, one at each end. It reminds us of Lady and the Tramp. You remember that movie. We believe it was a little studio named Disney that released it.
17. Keke Palmer learns a lesson the hard way
Here’s a chance for us to talk about leaked personal photos. Back in summer 2014, there were two massive waves of naked celebrity selfies leaked to the Internet. Fans of nude pics were torn. Finally, some of the most wanted celebrities were naked, but it was also a huge, huge invasion of their privacy. Not long ago, the feds finally caught the guy who did it. Apparently he sent the celebs phishing emails and just got them to give him their passwords. Anyway, what he did was terrible, but we want to drive a point home to the millions of people who continue to take naked photos of themselves, celebrity or not: Expect them to end up on the Internet. If you don’t want the world to see you sitting on the toilet or standing in front of a mirror completely nude, don’t take the picture. One of the many celebrities caught up in this scandal was Keke Palmer, who had a big role in True Jackson, VP. It was not one of Disney Channel’s best shows and didn’t last very long. Palmer is probably more well known for the photo leak than for any acting she’s done.
16. Adrienne Bailon goes see-through
Adrienne Bailon was one of those girls who seemed to show up as a guest star on every Disney Channel show for a few years, eventually leading to her getting a musical movie, The Cheetah Girls and an even more successful sequel three years later. She’s never completely left the spotlight either because of her music, appearing as guest spots on a ton of shows or co-hosting The Real, yet you never hear the Disney Channel trumpet her as one of the alums their most proud of. We’re guessing it’s because she shows up to events wearing clothes like you see in the picture above. We’re not criticising it at all. We’d like to see more sexy women take wardrobe tips from Ms. Bailon, especially all of those Disney executives who would rather forget she ever donned cheetah print and made them millions in record sales.
15. Shia LaBeouf becomes a Nymphomaniac
Most people forget controversial actor/performance artist Shia LaBeouf got his start as Louis Stevens on The Disney Channel in Even Stevens, one of the first successful original shows. LaBeouf caught a lot of mainstream praise, winning a Daytime Emmy for his role on the show. Once that gig ended, he earned a role in the popular teen movie Holes. LaBeouf was set at that point and roles started pouring in from Transformers to Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Somewhere along the way though, LaBeouf started to go down a road of weirdness even the most troubled child stars stay away from. We’ll get more into his colorful run-ins with the law in another entry, but perhaps his most controversial role ever was in the 2013 film Nymphomaniac. Obviously, you can guess what the movie is about. We tend to agree with the Disney execs for shying away from LaBeouf and not running any Even Stevens marathons.
14. Bald Britney Spears takes on a car
It was a rough stretch for Britney Spears. The poor girl was selling millions of records, performing to sold-out stadiums and could have any man on the planet she wanted. So naturally, she completely lost her stuff. First, and apparently on a whim, she had her driver pull over as she passed a hair salon in Los Angeles so she could walk in and get her head shaved. When one of the most popular women on Earth does that, it’s going to get attention and this was a time when the paparazzi movement was really gaining steam. So what does Britney do to try to ensure her privacy? She attacks a photographer’s car with her umbrella. It’s a long way from the Mickey Mouse Club to trying to kill a car with an anti-rain stick for such a famous person. Hell, it’s a long way from sanity to do that if you’re the most average person.
13. Kelli Berglund wants you to think she’s 21
Kelli Berglund was never going to be on the level of the top Disney starlets since she didn’t have her own show, but she was featured on the Disney XD Channel’s series Lab Rats and Lab Rats: Elite Force. She was also in the 2014 Disney Channel original movie How to Build A Better Boy. She also wears the most amazing chest-revealing tops in public. Even if she didn’t get her own show, she knew how to get headlines when she was arrested with a fake ID at the popular Coachella music festival held yearly in Indio, California. Apparently there was a rager of a party for celebs, musicians and VIPs the night before the festival kicked off for us mere mortals, but just because the beautiful people are allowed in, they’re not allowed to break the law. Berglund was actually arrested and booked, getting the mugshot treatment and all. It’s not drunk driving or a sex scandal, so Disney may continue to look the other way, but it’s not going to be able to if she keeps walking around in shirts like the one she’s got on in this picture while in public.
12. DTV: At least it was a start
This isn’t about sex, or drugs, or arrests or scandal. This is just about producing a horrible television show in the early years of the Disney Channel. Hoping to somewhat compete for younger music fans who hadn’t migrated to the evil clutches of MTV yet, the Disney Channel (still a commercial-free premium channel like HBO or Showtime back in the day) created DTV. Essentially, the Disney Channel would mix older non-offensive songs like The Supremes “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” or Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” together with what was then current songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” or Huey Lewis & The News’ “The Heart of Rock & Roll” but instead of showing videos, they’d take old cartoon footage and show clips over the music. This meant you never saw the musical artist, nor did you hear any of the cartoon dialogue. It just made no sense. All of the episodes were produced in 1984, although it showed episodes for years and put out VHS tapes into the early 1990s. We’re guessing nobody talks about this stupid idea around the office.
11. The Mickey Mouse Club and its path of destruction
In the 1950s, long before there was the Disney Channel – or cable television for that matter – ABC aired a daily afternoon show called The Mickey Mouse Club. It featured children from around the age of 10 up to about 16 showing American kids how to be good students, good siblings and good citizens. After four seasons the show, whose biggest star was future surf movie goddess and peanut butter pitchwoman Annette Funicello, was cancelled. Ironically, many decades later, Disney would eventually buy ABC. Disney, also many decades later, recreated the Mickey Mouse Club and this group of kids got crazy famous. Stars included Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling and JC Chasez. Before these kids started getting in trouble in the early part of their individual careers, Disney was all about promoting the connection. Once they all started taking off their clothes to help their music or acting careers…not so much.
10. Dylan Sprouse does something without his twin
The Sprouse Brothers grew up in front of the camera. Adorable twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse were introduced to the world playing the faux son of Adam Sandler in the movie Big Daddy. A few years later, they landed the lead roles as twins Zack & Cody Banks in the mega-successful The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, which also launched the careers of Ashley Tisdale and Brenda Song (both of whom who have a few photos that could have ended up on this list) and eventually led to a spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck. The boys eventually aged out of Disney productions, because it’s just weird watching men approaching 20 acting like they have the brains of 14-year-old boys. It was unbelievable to think two good looking guys like them wouldn’t be trying to have sex with every hot girl on their non-stop cruise, but it’s Disney Channel, so that doesn’t happen. Except, in real life it does and when Dylan’s naked selfies hit the Internet, you’ve got to believe Disney felt like they dodged a bullet by pulling the plug on the twins’ shows just in time.
9. Vanessa Hudgens sets the bar for Internet photo leaks
The Internet had been around for a while, and the concept of a sex tape had been around even longer when a batch of photos Vanessa Hudgens took of herself in various states of undress (reportedly as a present for then-boyfriend Zac Efron) hit the Internet. You’d think it wouldn’t have been a big deal but at the time in 2007, but she was in the midst of the High School Musical trilogy, so it was an active Disney starlet sharing her body with the world, not one who had worked with the company years earlier. She apologized about her lack of judgement, but there have been at least two other leaked photo scandals throughout her career. Ironically Hudgens has never done nudity in a movie, although we’re guessing Disney Channel executives would have prefered that over the way her first batch of photos got out there. Leaked or not, she made the choice to take them, a choice Disney execs had to pretend didn’t happen so they could get High School Musical 3 into theaters before Hudgens did anything else that stupid.
8. Debby Ryan has sole..and an OUI
You’ve got to think that the number one question executives at the Disney Channel ask each other before giving somebody their own show on their network is, “Is this kid going to behave offset and not embarrass us?” They know every single one will grow up and eventually leave the channel, hopefully straight to wholesome entertainment and not magazine pictorials covering their breasts with their hands, but you’ve got to think they want to be able to point to alumni as good kids who turned into good adults. They probably felt like they hit the jackpot with Debby Ryan who got her own show, Jessie after being in a supporting role on The Suite Life on Deck. Wouldn’t you know it, just months after Jessie ended, Ryan gets nabbed for drunk driving. The charged was lowered and she got three months probation, but it was just another in a long list of Disney alumni that the Channel won’t talk about. At least that frees her up to do all the dirty pictures she wants. We just hope they aren’t exclusively for foot fetish websites.
7. From Disney to drug dealer
So, if you’re an actor at Disney Studios, making your sickeningly sweet shows for average children to eat up across the country, there’s got to be one question that comes to your mind: Where am I gonna get my meth? We joke, and know Disney would never allow anything like that on its property, but one of its former stars, Orlando Brown, who played Eddie Thomas on That’s So Raven, was nailed by police in Torrance, California in February 2016, arrested on charges of misdemeanor domestic battery, obstruction of justice, drug possession with intent to sell and having contraband in jail. While his career had slowed, Brown was still working, most notably a role in the recent rap docudrama Straight Outta Compton. Hopefully he’ll turn his life around, having admitted an addiction to crack cocaine, but once you get a mugshot, you’re persona non grata in the world of The Disney Channel
6. SNL and Miley give Disney Channel the middle finger
If there’s one thing you can say about Disney Channel original programming over the last 20 years, it has a formula almost as stagnant as every Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. Maybe this show has two kids while the next has four or maybe their siblings in one and friends in the other but it’s all the same thing over and over. Of course, as kids grow, they stop watching and new children discover the channel, no longer entertained by Dora the Explorer. That formulaic programming is what made the Saturday Night Live skit “Disney Channel Acting School” so funny. Miley Cyrus played Hannah Montana while Kenan Thompson was Raven. They teach such important and well-worn Disney Channel tropes as how to spy on adults from a doorway, how to react to smelly feet and how to be the loudest person in every room. If Cyrus had any goodwill left with the channel, we’re guessing this was the nail in the coffin.
5. Raven-Symone illustrates Disney’s tendencies
The Disney Channel would never come out and say it’s super ultra conservative, but it’s programming over the years shows it. Look at the number of minorities featured and you’ll see little more progress than regular television featured in the late 1970s. Executives would have you think they’re all-inclusive, but they make right-wing conservatives look open-minded to new things. Case in point, have we seen any gay lead characters? Kids are coming out in school all the time now, why isn’t this reflected in the programming. They’ve already had one of their biggest stars of the last 20 years, Raven-Symone, come out as a lesbian several years ago. Raven has been openly gay for a couple of years now and was even in the tabloids after breaking up with her hot girlfriend, AzMarie Livingston in 2015 after three years of dating. Disney loves to tell children to not be bullies, but homosexual children are among the most bullied. You’d think they could spread the message it’s OK to be who you are, especially if that’s a hot lesbian.
4. Lindsay Lohan: The original Disney hot mess
Did we call Miley Cyrus the patron saint of bad behavior earlier? Our mistake. Cyrus is good at drawing attention to her mischievous behavior. If you’re going to talk hardcore, illegal bad behavior, Cyrus can only sit at the foot of Lindsay Lohan. Introduced to us originally in a remake of The Parent Trap which ran on The Disney Channel again and again, Lohan made a few other films for Disney that saw repeated play including a remake of Freaky Friday, Herbie: Fully Loaded and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. And then the wheels fell off the car, almost literally. Lohan got in a series of car accidents because of drunk driving, eventually ending up doing time. She developed a reputation as being difficult to work with and didn’t help by perpetuating her image as an out-of-touch Hollywood young person. Ten years later, she has almost no career to speak of and really just serves as the template for Disney starlets of what not to do. Don’t expect to see reruns of The Parent Trap on Disney Channel anytime soon.
3. Demi Lovato leaves a girl, returns a woman
After impressing the decisionmakers with her performance in the Disney Channel original film Camp Rock, Demi Lovato was given her own show, Sonny With a Chance, about a girl picked out of obscurity to be part of a Saturday Night Live-like variety show. This led to more films for the Mouse, such as Camp Rock 2 and Princess Protection Program. As these projects aired, Lovato was also picking up steam as a recording artist, delivering the teenage friendly pop Disney likes to associate itself with. Then, internal demons surfaced and Lovato was forced off the channel with a combination of eating disorders and mental health issues such as depression and bipolar disorder. We’ll assume Disney told her to take her time and she could come back when ready, but after taking care of her issues, Lovato burst onto the scene no longer as the happy-go-lucky teen Disney loves to promote. Suddenly, Lovato was a sexy woman and reminded us often. We know the men who work for Disney Channel loved the sudden skin reveal, but probably couldn’t admit it at work.
2. Snow White didn’t age so well
If it’s been drawn as a cartoon, there’s a great chance there is a talented artist out there angry they’re not making a living plying their passion as a trade. Many of those people are perverts. Many have no issue taking their anger and perversion and creating parody cartoons that are sometimes so good, you’d think the original cartoonists did the work. Such is the case of Fat Snow White Takes A Selfie (or whatever it’s really called), just one of thousands of pieces of fan art hanging out there on the Internet. This is actually one of the few PG-rated examples we can show, but it also shows just how good some of these people are. It looks like it’s straight out of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie, except of course, that Snow White was pure…like white snow. This one looks like she has a two pack-a-day habit. You’ll never seen Disney admit this weird subculture exists. Why would they?
1. Disney Channel presents the hottest woman on Earth
We’re just going to come out and say it: Selena Gomez is easily the hottest female who has ever appeared on the Disney Channel. You can even include Nickelodeon. And MTV. And any other channel Selena Gomez appears on that has other humans on it because there is no human quite as beautiful as this one. We could look at photos of her in various states of undress all day. It was around the time of Spring Breakers when she started posing for photos in a more “adult” manner but what seemed to seal the deal for Disney Channel distancing itself was when she was revealed to be in a long relationship with Justin Bieber. If our favorite employee was dating a bag of douche like Bieber, we’d stop pretending we knew her too. They’re no longer together, but as long as her public image continues to be as sexy as it is, we can’t see her doing too much with Disney Channel again. It’s OK. We’ll take half-naked Selena Gomez over Wizards of Waverly Place every day of the week.