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Former child actor Cole Sprouse says Disney 'heavily sexualized' young girls at the network

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Photo by Rich Fury/VF22/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Actor and former Disney child star Cole Sprouse blasted the Disney Channel with accusations of what he said was rampant sexualization of his former female costars.

What are the details?

In a recent interview with the New York Times, the former "Suite Life of Zack and Cody" actor said that he has a "very complicated relationship to celebrity culture."

“I started acting when I was so young that I hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if I really enjoyed performance," the "Riverdale" actor said. "When I returned, I reminded myself that I do very much love the art of acting. But I still have a very complicated relationship to celebrity culture."

He also argued that becoming a successful child actor or actress is more of a trauma than anything — an idea he only conceived in hindsight as he got older and gained more experience in the entertainment industry.

“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No," he insisted. "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."

He explained that all of his former female costars "going through that trauma" have had their own unique and troubling experiences with being hypersexualized as a child in Hollywood.

“And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience. When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma," he reasoned. "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 [they] adequately comprehend ... the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover."

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