The Disney Channel is under fire a joke about eating disorders that was made on “Shake It Up,” one of the channel’s many original programs aimed at kids. The most vocal criticism came from Demi Lovato, a former Disney Channel star who has famously struggled with her own emotional and psychological issues. From CBS:
The singer-actress, 19, took to her Twitter account to express her anger after one of the show’s characters quipped, “I could just eat you up, well, if I ate.”
“What are we promoting here? #notfunnyATALL,” Lovato tweeted on Friday. “I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actress’ from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make [a] joke about that very disease.”
“And is it just me or are the actress’ getting THINNER AND THINNER…. I miss the days of RAVEN, and LIZZIE MCGUIRE,” she added, referring to actresses Raven-Symone and Hilary Duff.
Lovato, the former star of the Disney Channel’s “Sonny with a Chance,” continued, “Dear Disney Channel, EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT.”
The Disney Channel’s PR account then tweeted Lovato to apologize and announce that it would be pulling the episode in question from their rotation, saying “It’s NEVER our intention to make light of eating disorders!” Let me be clear about something here: good for you, Demi Lovato. It certainly wasn’t the worst or most offensive joke I’ve ever heard, but it was definitely out of place on a show aimed at young kids. And I’m especially glad someone in their peer group stepped up on this issue, rather than some paternalistic group playing the “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” card. I think we can all agree that a 19-year-old taking a stand on social media and getting a major international media corporation to admit error and change its course is, if nothing else, pretty damn Raven.