“It was really nerve-racking and the reason I ended up doing it was because my girlfriend at the time, we reached a point in our relationship where it felt like it was a disservice to her for her to be hidden,” Stoner, 29, said during an appearance on the “I’m Literally Screaming” podcast earlier this month. “Even though there were other pressures and considerations to be public, I felt like I want to do this.”
The Camp Rock star spoke with their managers — including the Jonas Brothers’ father, Kevin Jonas Sr. — about the potential “risk” that could come with living authentically in the spotlight. While Jonas, 58, was “loving” about their perspective, several others on the actor’s team were not.
“He was supportive and helpful in me understanding that there are risks if I do this [and] it’s totally my choice, but it could affect not only people’s perceptions but hireability for jobs,” Stoner recalled to host Spencewuah. “I did end up getting fired from a children’s show because they felt that I was unsafe — now that they knew I was queer — to be around kids.”
They added: “There was definitely discrimination there, but the beauty far outweighs the hate comments and death threats. It was intimidating and also liberating.”
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody alum did not further reveal which TV program or network executives had let them go, but the Ohio native worked on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon for many years as a child and teen.
Stoner got their big break in 2001 when they appeared on Disney’s Mike’s Super Short Show, one year before landing a leading role in Missy Elliott’s “Work It” music video. Stoner went on to book jobs in the Cheaper by the Dozen franchise, Suite Life of Zack & Cody, That’s So Raven and Drake & Josh. The Mind Body Pride author also had a starring voiceover role as Isabella on Disney Channel’s animated series Phineas and Ferb throughout its complete run and played Channing Tatum’s foster sibling in 2006’s Step Up.
“The question of whether she was a cool new friend or more kept me awake in wonderment and dread. I tried to be patient and stifle the emotions so I could think objectively. Our bond didn’t feel quite sisterly or platonic,” the Alice Upside Down star wrote in Teen Vogue at the time. “Flashes of her smile progressed to flashes of her wavy hair followed by the curve of her hips through her straight-leg pants. I realized I had never fantasized about a guy this way nor really ever felt comfortable dating guys. Come to think of it, I stared at women’s bodies more than anything. But wasn’t that just societal conditioning or the unattainable beauty standards that fuel comparison and objectification? I refused to entertain other possibilities.”