Joe Jonas the latest to rage against the Disney machine

December 4, 2013
Joe Jonas (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Joe Jonas (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Looks like Joe Jonas is having rough few months. The former Disney star and his siblings, Nick and Kevin, officially dissolved the Jonas Brothers a few weeks ago, citing the inevitable discord among the once white-hot teen sensation.

Now he’s the latest Disney alum to publicly bite the hand that fed him: Jonas unleashed a 4,500-word rant in New York magazine this week about the intense pressure of teenage fame, including some not-so-kind things to say about his former employer.

“Being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever,” Jonas, now 24, said in a piece titled “Joe Jonas: My Life As a Jonas Brother.” “Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, ‘Screw all this, I’m just going to show people who I am.’ ”

That, of course, assumes anyone cares. Joe is the least successful of the three brothers: Nick’s got the voice and a likely solo career; Kevin’s got the cute E! reality show with his cute new wife.

Joe? Well, he’s just mad. Disney made Jonas and his brothers multi-millionaires by releasing their hit albums and airing their so-so sitcom, “Jonas,” on the Disney Channel. But the all-powerful Mouse House isn’t getting the love back. (Disney declined our request for comment.)

Jonas isn’t the only one knocking Disney’s kingdom. This spring, “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” actor Dylan Sprouse took to YouTube saying he felt the company tried to cheat him and his brother, Cole, out of a spin-off of their sitcom. Miley Cyrus hasn’t tried to hide her disdain about once playing squeaky-clean “Hannah Montana.” (Then again, she doesn’t seem to like much of anything these days.)


(L to R) Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas and Kevin Jonas (Dan Hallman/Invision/AP)

Jonas’s list of complaints, however, go above and beyond his fellow Disney expats. “Disney made us more famous than we ever knew we could be,” he acknowledged, but has a lot of issues. To wit: He and his brothers (whom he calls “frightened little kids”) were under too much pressure to behave perfectly in the spotlight; execs watered down their songs; they were forced to wear those famous purity rings to protect the brand. (But he smoked marijuana with Cyrus and Demi Lovato when they were teens.)

So – a game-changing broadside against Disney or the venting of an angry twenty-something with nothing left to lose?

“We went along with it at the time, because we thought Disney was our only real shot,” he said. “And we were terrified that it could all be taken away from us at any moment.”

Sorry to break it to you, Joe – but that ship has sailed.

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Michael Livingston · December 4, 2013