Disney Channel Pulls Sitcom Episodes After Demi Lovato Slams Eating Disorder Jokes

Demi Lovato was not singing a happy tune on Friday night as she launched into a Twitter dialogue condemning her former employer, Disney Channel, for making light of eating disorders.

The onetime Disney queen — who earlier this year checked herself into a treatment center to address, among other things, eating disorder issues — was responding to an episode of Shake It Up, a musical/comedy about background dancers on a popular teen show. The dialogue Lovato quoted had an image-conscious character saying, “I could just eat you up — well, if I ate.”

Demi Lovato Exits Disney Series: ‘I Don’t Think It Would Be Healthy for My Recovery’

“Dear Disney Channel, EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT,” Lovato said during her series of tweets.

“What are we promoting here?” she asked, labeling the offending joke with the hashtag #notfunnyATALL.
“I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actresses from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make joke about that very disease.”

One of the actress/singer’s Followers claimed to her that another Disney series, So Random, had made similar jokes.

The Disney Channel PR department’s Twitter account promptly responded to Lovato, saying, “We hear you and are pulling both episodes as quickly as possible and reevaluating them. It’s NEVER our intention to make light of eating disorders!”

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Lovato — who accepted Disney’s mea culpa — also wondered aloud on Twitter, “Is it just me or are the actresses getting THINNER AND THINNER…. I miss the days of RAVEN and LIZZIE MCGUIRE.”

“I have nothing against any specific actress/actor or tv show,” she clarified. “Nor do I think there’s anything wrong with girls who aren’t curvy, I just was stating a fact that there needs to be more variety on television so young girls growing up don’t feel pressured to look one specific way. Tall, thin, curvy, short, whatever you are, you are beautiful.”

Do you applaud Lovato’s campaign to keep Disney Channel, which speaks directly to young girls, in check when it comes to promoting healthy images?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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67 Comments
  1. Avoiding laundry says:

    I have an 8 yr old daughter who is not a stick, but a normal healthy size. It is impossible to buy clothes for her because it seems the clothing industry (and society in general) feel that once girls hit size 8 they are not allowed to get wider, only taller.
    I applaud Demi Lovati for her comments. She’s right to call Disney out on their shows.

    • Viv says:

      Our girls have the same problems. Clothes are either made for sticks or little girls who are looking for a career in prostitution. Why is it wrong for me to want to dress my 12 year old in clothes that cover her breasts and behind? It seems your only options when shopping for young girls is slut clothes or prairie dresses. Why is there no middle ground?

      • MelindaB says:

        I have a 16-year-old daughter, and we’ve been struggling with this issue for half her life, it seems. She was very skinny until she started maturing, and now she’s got curves. I hate the tight, short shirt trend, and so does she; when she was 12, we ended up buying boys’ t-shirts because we couldn’t find any in the girls’ section that we deemed appropriate. She doesn’t like clothes with sequins and rhinestones, counter to what many manufacturers seem to think. Why is it so hard to find age-appropriate clothes for little girls, or even teens?

        • Jenni says:

          There’s not a thing wrong with that!!! I shop in the boys department for clothes all the time, because I want regular T-shirts, not necklines that are around my belly button and material so thin I could read a textbook through it.

          • mallory says:

            Sadly, it doesn’t get any easier as we grow up. I’m 25 and I STILL have problems trying to find clothes! I just want to wear clothes that still have a semi-youthful flair yet are still professional…and juniors clothes are too low cut or tight while misses/petites age me about 20 years….it’s a narrow line and it’s completely unfair for young ladies who don’t want to look overly matronly or teeny-bopper-y…

            p.s. Kudos to Demi for standing up!

  2. Joni says:

    Way to go Demi. I saw your Tweet and Retweeted it. Thank you Disney Channel for addressing this so quickly and doing the right thing by pulling the episodes.

  3. Bernadette says:

    There is nothing redeemable about “Shake It Up” – wish Disney would just nix it all together. Some of their programs are good for the kids, but the two leads in that show are absolutely horrible characters.

    • Ashley says:

      Agreed. I don’t have any children but I have a younger brother who’s been forbidden from turning that drivel on when he’s at my house. Heck, I miss Lizzie too. And all the other shows that didn’t train little kids to want to be disrespectful tramps and trouble makers. So glad the little bro prefers Discovery to Disney anyway.

      • Joe says:

        22 years of the Simpsons as a pop culture phenom will do that -the disrespectful part -making other shows and people wanting to be like it.

        • Michael says:

          The Simpsons is not a kid’s show AND it’s not as bad as the “other shows” that want “to be like it” (if that was ever their intention). And while it can be mildy crude, The Simpsons actually has a lot of heart, moral lessons…

          • Joe says:

            Yet the Simpsons is watched by hundreds of millions of kids….

            Claiming X2 while Y is actually being done, usually means Y. Right or wrong it is just how it is.

          • DUH says:

            @Joe do you have a source for those numbers you pulled out of your ass? those in the demo for the disney channel are by and large NOT watching the simpsons.

  4. Anthony Newhall says:

    Good. It’s about time someone called out Disney in public. And good for her for taking charge in something that means so much to her. Love it.

  5. C says:

    Glad they pulled it. That kind of humor is not acceptable for programming aimed at young kids, especially girls.

  6. patty says:

    Demi is right. Looks like something good can come out a celebrity tweeting. Much love and power to Demi.

  7. Rebecca Parker says:

    Good for her.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Disney finally does something funny, and then backpedals because some spoiled brat who can’t even figure out how to eat complains? I guess except for the first part, we should have seen it coming.

    • shaun says:

      What is wrong with you. Demi should be thanked for calling Disney out on this. They never should have made the episodes.

    • babygate says:

      Your comment perfectly illustrates Demi’s point. Enough said. And btw, Disney has been plenty funny in the past. What passes for comedy lately is disturbing. It is neither healthy nor representative of kids/teens reality.

    • lauren says:

      Just goes to show you that even on Christmas eve, the pigheaded crazies are out. Or too much eggnog in mom’s basement.

  9. Marcus says:

    Good on her for saying something. Anyone who thinks jokes like that are funny is a moron.

  10. babygate says:

    Bravo Demi! Bravo! It takes real courage to speak up against the machine. And her efforts paid off. We should all be supporting her. Disney has the attention of every tween. They should be using their powers for good; to be a positive influence, not to promote false stereotypes. Shake it up is the reason I stopped watching Disney. The outrageous concern for image and the vapid personality of the characters was a new low in my book. I too miss the days of Raven and Lizzie McGuire….

  11. Jeff says:

    So if I ever say to someone, if I ever ate, I’ve clearly got an eating disorder?!

    Sorry I don’t agree. I believe that it isn’t wrong to say that. Now if it was followed up with specific comments about eating disorders, then okay. But there are many reasons why someone might make a light joke about if I ever ate.

    Gee, I believe I and at least 3 colleagues made Tht or a very similar comment just last week at work when we were swamped and lunches got missed. And I can assure you we don’t have eating disprdrs for Ming the odd meal. Nor was our comment even about eating disorders.

    People need to lighten up unless something is specifically said, because otherwise anything can be made to mean anything.

    • Simon Jester says:

      That cool breeze that just blew by was you missing the point.

      • Joe says:

        No I get the point.

        I also get the oint that one really can’t say anything nowadays without someone coming up with some way that it is insulting to someone.

        Of course I also get the point there would be much less eating disorders in teens if parents did their job. But it is so much easier to just go out and work, come home tired and leave the kids to fend for themselves. A parent who has sit down meals with their kids, does things to make sure their kids eat lunch and are alert at all times for signs of vomiting etc, are MUCH les likely to have kids with eating disorders.

        So much easier though to say “2well can’t make my kid eat” or “can’t stop my kid from eating all the time”. Well actually yes as a parent you can do both.

        • lipsticksocialism says:

          while an involved parent can help their child avoid eating disorders, you’d be surprised how EASY it is to develop an eating disorder and HIDE IT WELL. Even for children. Let alone kids in their late teens who are given more independence and responsibility since they are growing up. AND THEN, you’re also forgetting kids with single parents who work two jobs in order to put food on the table. In an ideal world, PARENTS can fix anything if they want it bad enough, in real life, it works a bit differently. JUST LIKE SOCIETY HAS TAKEN THE RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS, SOCIETY SHOULD PREVENT PROGRAMMING (particularly programming AIMED AT KIDS) FROM PROMOTING EATING DISORDERS. Simple as that.

        • Rachel says:

          It is both sad and hilarious that you think the culprit for eating disorders are *working parents*. Oy, guten himmel.

          • Joe says:

            Never said that.

            Love how people read what they want something to say, instead of wht is actually said.

            Typical though of anyone who doesn’t like something they read.

        • EJ says:

          Bravo to her. I’ve stopped watching Disney because all the kids are spoiled brats with nothing better to do. (And fyi, I’m an older teen, not an adult). It’s not okay to make those jokes on TV. People might make them in real life but it does not make it appropriate to make those comments on a TV sitcom for PRETEENS!!! And in terms of parents, I know from experience it is really really easy to fall into that trap. My mom has always been home with me and we have family dinners every night. But I still have struggled with eating problems, and I know, that if I tried hard enough, I could become anorexic or something of that sort. Skipping meals is remarkably easy, even with parents who are always home. But I suppose I understand your point, it’s just that when people think a certain way about themselves, they will do anything to change themeselves, even going to extremes. And it is NOT right for Disney to joke about it in any way, shape, or form. I’ve caught my sister (who is not even a teen) asking me about the fat on her body (even though there is none on her athletic, tomboy body). Curvy kids? Nope. We’re gonna go with the bratty skinny kids (nothing against being skinny, of course).

    • Brandon says:

      I think you’re missing the point and are lacking respect for those with said disorder.

    • lauren says:

      In addition to you entirely missing the point (and yes, you did) it’s all about the context, and if the character is “image conscious” as the story said then she obvs meant it was about not gaining weight. Of course you are probably just being purposely obtuse to cause a commotion.

    • Marcus says:

      You’re one of those people who rants about how evil political correctness is because it infringes upon your god-given right to be as douchey as you want, aren’t you?

  12. Juan says:

    Demi Lovato, Unlikely Voice of Reason

    • MJ says:

      Sir, I salute you for your awesome capitalization.

      Demi, I salute you too for being the one to speak up and say “It’s not funny.”

  13. Michael says:

    I completely understand where Demi is coming from, but the characters that iterated this dialogue aren’t redeemable — and therefore, I don’t believe Disney was exactly promoting not eating. Shake It Up’s character was an obnoxious model. In So Random it’s a male model with an extremely exaggerated accent who says he eats once a week and clearly no one cares for him, thinks he’s annoying, and doesn’t really want him around. But regardless, Disney should check itself more often. Remember when Lizzie McGuire did an episode about the dangers of Miranda not eating?

    • em says:

      Most of us would find the model obnoxious, but we’re talking about kids as young as six or seven. A few kids might have only seen that the model had a whole entourage around her hanging onto her every word and the fact that she was an established model. If I were young and impressionable, I might think that to be a successful model and to have a lot of people like you, you can’t eat.

      • Michael says:

        I think we give kids too little credit to pick up on the character’s obnoxiousness.

        • Yes, but... says:

          At a time in history when some of the most obnoxious people on the planet are also some of the most famous and (seemingly) successful – just look at American politics if you want some examples – this sort of thing sends absolutely the wrong message to little kids.

          What kids see is “Look at me! I’m a complete jerk, but I’m skinny and hot and therefore people flock to me anyway! Look how rich and successful I am! And did I mention that I’m also a classless jackhole?! Check it out!”

        • DUH says:

          please then explain the success of the cast of jersey shore and kardashian family.

  14. Leah says:

    Good for her!

  15. eric murphy says:

    If anything, Lovato has the rarest thing in showbiz: moral ascendancy to call out her former employer. She’s got backbone and guts. Good for her.

    • Charlotte says:

      Not to nitpick or anything but isn’t this the same girl who punched her backup dancer in the face and then promptly went to rehab? I don’t know if “moral ascendancy” is the right phrase here.

      • eric murphy says:

        Granted, she made mistakes but nobody’s perfect. At least she owned up and went to rehab. But Disney essentially threw her under the bus, without saying a peep on her and discreetly kicking her out from her show. With that, I wouldn’t take it against her if she used this chance to nitpick on Disney shows: it’s both business *and* personal.

      • Brooke says:

        Demi did punch her backup dancer and then went to rehab. However, she has also shown a remarkable willingness to admit that she did something wrong, own up to the consequences, and actually show results from treatment. Everyone does things that are not acceptable, but very few people seem to accept the blame and become better people afterward. She’s like the anti-Lohan.

  16. Joe says:

    I don’t rant against political correctness.

    I believe there is no reason for political correctness to exist, because:
    A-people should say and do what is true and moral
    B-“you can’t legislate ignorance/bigoty” no matter how hard you try.
    C-everything is an opportunity to learn, be educated and told what is right and wrong.

    It isn’t what is said that is wrong, it is the reaction and lack of education of what is wrong after something is said that is the problem.

  17. caitlin says:

    It’s amazing how anonymity brings out one’s true self. You clearly have never been through anything like this otherwise you would not be making light of it.

  18. the girl says:

    The problem wasn’t the joke itself; the problem is the audience. Young preteen or tween girls are way more impressionable than 25 or 30 year old women. I am godmother and aunt to two ten year old girls and it is bad enough that we (me, their mothers, their grandmother, etc) are constantly explaining to them that their brown hair is beautiful even though it’s not blond like Hannah Montana’s. Now I (and the other adults in their lives) have to answer for why the girls they look up to don’t eat so they can stay skinny? I do not at all take responsibility away from the parents/guardians, who have to monitor what their children watch and make sure they are not exposed to messages that are going to diminish their self-esteem or guide them in a questionable direction. But if Disney is going to make shows that cater to that audience they should be mindful of the messages that are built into their shows. Or they will find a lot of parents choosing to keep Disney’s programming away from their daughters. With that said, I appreciate that Demi Lovato asked Disney to be more responsible about what they appear to be promoting for young girls, because they have to be mindful of the fact that girls who watch their shows will look up to and want to emulate the characters, and in order to do that, the characters should display attributes that are worth emulating.

    • Cathie says:

      Sorry but no.

      The problem with your statement is that it does not deal with the real issue. Why do the 10 year olds feel they need to. Why are they impressionable.

      Like it or not that comes back to how they were raised.

      I too was a kid. I was never impressionable. I never felt I needed to do something because some str or friend was. That was because of how I was raised. That is where the buck and responsibility starts and ends.

      Not with grttinsome show pulled, which might top that one thing from airing, and does in no way deal with the issues.

      I

      • Mia says:

        Children as much as we may want to be are not raised in a bubble. There is a saying about how it takes a village and its true. Kids are sponges they absorb many things around them. And while parents play huge role in a child’s development, peer, society play a large role as well. Shake it Up perpetuates several message that I would not show to my children but what happen when they go to school and hear it from their peers? And Cathie I am glad you weren’t impressionable to these pressure but generally you are the exception not the rule.

      • MJ says:

        I agree that how you are raised has a lot to do with it, but some kids, because we all have different personalities, are going to be impressionable. You’re telling me you never believed in the Tooth Fairy? I’m not making assumptions, but I find it a little hard to believe that you were *never* impressionable.

        One of the greatest things about young people is the way a lot of them can TRUST. In people, in stories, in dreams. That’s wonderful. I don’t want to change that. But trusting the TV shows that say you have to be skinny is obviously a problem. Of course, it’s first and foremost a parent’s responsibility to make sure their kids aren’t trusting in the wrong things, but that doesn’t make it ‘ok’ for TV to ignore these problems, especially not in programming DESIGNED for children.

        The point is to put other people first. Take care of your friends and family. Even the writers/producers/actors/etc should be conscious.

      • the girl says:

        At some point Cathie, someone made an impression upon you and taught you or raised you to be the person you are. So just because you weren’t influenced by characters on TV doesn’t mean you weren’t influenced by something. In this day and age we have to be thoughtful that children can be influenced by everything. They are inundated with way more NOW than ever before. They are impressionable because they are children.

      • Wait, what? says:

        Spoken by someone who CLEARLY does not know anything about children or remember what it was like to be one. Ten year olds are impressionable because of the way they were raised? WRONG. Ten year olds are impressionable because they are ten years old.

        And I bet if you looked back on your memories of being that age with a little more honesty, you’d admit that you wanted to be like the other kids and fit in just as much as any other 10 year old does.

      • DUH says:

        you have obviously not spent much time in the modern day classroom.

  19. em says:

    I’m a big Demi fan and I just love that Demi called out Disney. After Disney basically disowned her after her problems, it’s kind of an early Christmas present.

  20. Rachel says:

    Seriously, good on her. I’m also glad Disney responded so well, I wouldn’t have expected that. I really hope they are more careful in the future – this isn’t even about being PC right now, this is about keeping these horrible images and ideas from kids who already have enough to deal with.

  21. Mark says:

    I hated this girl when she was on Disney Channel and I hate her even more now. She wasn’t funny then and she isn’t relevant now. Grow up Demi Lovato. It was a joke. Didn’t relate to you. I would hardly consider you a Disney Channel star anyhoo. Maybe instead of worrying about what DC is doing, she should concentrate more on getting her sister healthy.

  22. Evan M says:

    While I understand and respect Miss Lovato’s opinion I found 2 things interesting about all this:

    1. A lot of people have stated this episode first aired well over a year ago before any of Miss Lovato’s problems became public therefore she certainly knew this episode was still out there with the dialogue in it and is only now saying something well after the fact.

    2. Its always interesting how she’s trying to make Disney do something after she’s gotten out of her contract with the company because of her personal problems, which many of the kids end up doing because they don’t want to be under Disney’s thumb or under fear of breach of contract.

    Don’t think it carries as much weight if you wait till you’re not worried about being sued if it was really important enough of an issue.

  23. Spandex says:

    You make excellent points. This seems more like a publicity stunt than passionate activism. The thing is, these Disney has beens (Lovato, Cyrus, and Gomez) all still work for Mickey Mouse though Disney’s Hollywood Records music label.

  24. Pia says:

    I wish Demi would realize you can make a point without block caps.

  25. Get Over Yourself Demi says:

    Is Demi one to talk? This is the same self absorded individual who ruthless beat a back up dancer and went on a tantrum? Do not try to self righteous when you’re no better. You went to “rehab” and now you think you’re above it, you’re a made up talent by the mouse house please fade away like he rest.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Ummm blaming a parent…no blame society and disney for making remarks like this that make young girls feel they HAVE to be thin to fit on and be normal. I applaud Demi for her courage in standing up against this company…..also they need to re-air shows like That’s So Raven that teach lessons about being healthy yet still comfortable in your own skin.

  27. test says:

    Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are

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