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Quiet in the Court

Ex-Nickelodeon show-runner files lawsuit in light of docuseries exposé
Julia Warde
A digital creation by Julia Warde, made with Canva.

About two months ago, an Investigation Discovery series dubbed “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV”, an exposé-style docuseries left viewers appalled following personal testimonies of ex-Nickelodeon child stars and their parents. Multiple alleged victims all seem to corroborate the same story: Nickelodeon’s biggest shows, notably “iCarly”, “Victorious”, and “All That” all harbored toxic and abusive working environments, especially towards the child actors.

Producer Dan Schneider was the focal point of the docuseries, as several parents and former child stars came forward with allegations of racism, verbal abuse, sexism, and harassment from the hands of Schneider himself. Schneider was dubbed the network’s “Golden Boy,” since he was behind some of Nickelodeon’s most successful and longest-running live-action shows in the network’s history. With his large success came immense power, a type that some of his former coworkers point out as an enabler of his crude behavior. 

Schneider first took to Youtube to discuss the allegations highlighted in “Quiet on Set.” He discussed his feelings during the impactful release of the documentary, expressing the difficulty of the initial release. 

“Facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret. I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology,” Schnieder said in the video. 

Schneider also touches upon a certain segment of “Quiet on Set ” that focused on him asking his crew members, particularly female, for massages while they worked on company time. He had previously admitted and apologized for these actions, through a statement via his team. 

“Dan deeply regrets asking anyone for neck massages,” his team said. “Though they happened in public settings, he knows this was highly inappropriate and would never happen again.”

Schneider also advocated for the removal of certain episodes in his shows, claiming that if people are now pointing out the crude humor of those shows and taking offense, the network should edit the scenes that appear to put young actors in inappropriate situations. 

“Every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience, because kids thought they were funny,” Schneider said. “Now we have some adults looking back at them 20 years later through their lens, and they’re looking at them and they’re saying ‘You know, I don’t think that’s appropriate for a kids show.’ I have no problem with that. If that’s how anyone feels, let’s cut those jokes out of the show, just like I would have done 20 years ago.”

However, on May 8th, Dan Schneider filed a lawsuit against the producers of “Quiet on Set” for defamation in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit names Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of Investigation Discovery, alongside the show’s production companies, Sony Pictures Television and Maxine Productions as defendants. 

Schneider’s lawsuit claims that the trailer for the series and episodes methodically mix and juxtapose images paired with mentions of his name with the criminal sexual abusers to allude that he was also involved. 

“‘Quiet on Set’s portrayal of Schneider is a hit job,” the suit says. “While it is indisputable that two bonafide child sexual abusers worked on Nickelodeon shows, it is likewise indisputable that Schneider had no knowledge of their abuse, was not complicit in the abuse, condemned the abuse once it was discovered and, critically, was not a child sexual abuser himself.”

Despite Schneider’s initial apology on Youtube, the lawsuit maintains that Dan Schneider was framed in an unjust light of child abuse, through the documentary showing pictures from his past, some of which include photos of him with his arm around young actors while discussions of an unsafe working environment for those children ensued. 

Although not involved in the lawsuit Nickelodeon issued its own statement to various news outlets, including Variety in reference to the allegations.

“Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago,” a network spokesperson said in a statement published by Variety. “Our highest priorities are the well-being and best interests not just of our employees, casts and crew, but of all children, and we have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

Nevertheless, the suit is pursuing damages, seeking the determination at trial for what it claimed was “decimation of Schneider’s reputation and legacy” due to “untrue statements and insinuations.” 

While likely hinting on whether the court finds sufficient evidence to substantiate Schneider’s claims of defamation, the outcome of this high-profile legal battle will undoubtedly shape the future of his career and set a precedent for how similar disputes are handled in the entertainment industry.

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About the Contributor
ASHLEE SCOLA, Staff Writer
Ashlee is a senior at GHS, and a first year staff writer for The Gillnetter. Her hobbies include studying and collecting crystals, listening to all kinds of music and creative writing. She is an honors student and a member of NHS. Her dad is the School Resource Officer, a.k.a. ‘Scola’-- so she’s been around Gloucester Public Schools and its events for many years. You can contact Ashlee with any questions or suggestions at [email protected] 

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