When Bella Thorne’s Freeform show, Famous in Love, was cancelled in June, fans suspected she was feuding with the show’s creator, I. Marlene King, after she learned the news via Twitter instead of a phone call. Turns out, Thorne wasn’t feuding with King (whom she had a “friendly and professional relationship” with) but she did have a problem with Freeform, whom she claims called her “fat” and “ugly.”
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, the 21-year-old actor claimed Freeform verbally abused her twice while filming Famous in Love, which she starred in for two seasons. Once was via e-mails and the other was on set, with her cast watching. “One issue is when you have a girl, a young girl who is on your show, you can’t tell her that she’s ugly or she’s fat or she’s this or she’s that because that’s going to make her feel bad,” Thorne said.
When asked to specify who called her “ugly,” Thorne named the network. She claimed the abuse was supposed to stop in the second season but never did. “In e-mails, and there was another thing that was in front of everyone on set,” Thorne said. “After, the cast was texting me, ‘Oh, my God, Bella. I am so sorry. That was so awkward. I feel so bad. Do you want me to come over to your room?’ ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe they did that.’ It was all supposed to change on Season 2, and it didn’t.”
But “ugly” and “fat” weren’t the only insults Thorne heard during her time on Famous in Love. She said the network also called her “uncontrollable and crazy,” as well as a diva because they were afraid of her speaking out against “bullying” and for “feminist issues.” “They were scared I was going to go running my mouth if I was upset,” Thorne said.
Thorne also spoke out against Disney Channel, which she starred on for three years on its series, Shake It Up. Along with claiming the network threatened to fire her after she wore a bikini at 14, Thorne said Disney Channel left her with $200 in her bank after she was done, forcing her to move in with her then-boyfriend, Gregg Sulkin, who paid for her meals.
Though Thorne didn’t explain why so much money was taken from her, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Coogan Law requires employers to withhold 15 percent of a minor’s gross wages, meaning not all of Thorne’s income went to her or her parents.
“[W]e discussed with the Thornes how they envisioned Bella’s personal brand image and career goals and whether, at age 13, her immediate plans were compatible with a Disney-branded show for viewers as young as age 6,” a representative for Disney Channel told The Los Angeles Times, in response to Thorne’s claims. A representative for Freeform, however, did not respond to The Los Angeles Times’ request for comment.