All About 'Quiet on Set' and the Allegations Against Dan Schneider

From fostering a "toxic workplace" to "predators" on set at Nickelodeon, here's everything that's come out so far.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Trigger warning: This piece contains descriptions of sexual assault and abuse. After the mid-March premiere of Investigation Discovery's docuseries, Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, audiences got a behind-the-scenes look at the grim side of Nickelodeon, and how the network lost its glossy orange veneer. The series, which has been watched by more than 16 million viewers and set streaming records on Max, explores allegations of "discriminatory behavior" against Dan Schneider — the creator behind beloved series like The Amanda ShowZoey 101Drake & JoshiCarly, and Victorious — plus allegations of abuse against former dialogue coach Brian Peck.

Quiet on Set opens with a disclaimer: "I will warn you, if you were a child of the ’90s, this is going to ruin that for you." In response to the series, Nickelodeon subsequently released a statement saying that it “investigates all formal complaints” and has “adopted numerous safeguards over the years," but added that it "cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago."

Initially, the four-episode series set out to detail everything that went on behind the scenes at Nickelodeon under Schneider's tenure, but an additional episode is set to air on Apr. 7 after critics and fans reacted to the initial reports of abuse and harassment towards child stars. Here's everything you need to know before the new episode airs on Max.

Who is Dan Schneider and what are the allegations against him?

Once described as Nickelodeon's "golden boy," Dan Schneider created a number of the most successful live-action shows in Nickelodeon history. Sources close to the network say that his success "enabled his bad behavior."

His career at the kids' network began in the 1990s, when he worked as a writer and producer. Eventually, he would go on to create The Amanda ShowZoey 101Drake & Josh, and iCarly. He "parted ways" with Nickelodeon in 2018 after he was accused of creating a hostile work environment. In a gender discrimination and hostile workplace claim that was filed in 2000, a writer on The Amanda Show claimed that Schneider had made her uncomfortable by persistently requesting massages.

When iCarly star Jennette McCurdy published her memoir, I'm Glad My Mom Died, many readers speculated that she was calling out Schnider when she wrote about an executive that "pressured her into drinking alcohol, gave her an unwanted massage, and pitted young actors against one another," according to Business Insider.

In fact, McCurdy and her Sam & Cat co-star Ariana Grande filed complaints about a producer on their show. Insider reports that an investigation launched in 2013 found inappropriate behavior on the set of the iCarly spinoff. Schneider had reportedly contributed to the “toxicity” on set and McCurdy wrote that “the Creator” was “no longer allowed to be on set with any actors.” Later in 2017 and 2018, Nickelodeon’s parent company, Viacom CBS, launched another investigation into Schneider’s “alleged sexual behavior." Even though it found no evidence of sexual misconduct, the report stated that Schneider could be verbally abusive.

Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s former president of content and production, told the publication that a standards-and-practices group read every script for Schneider’s shows. Additionally, programming executives watched every episode and parents and caregivers were always on set. “Every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved,” Hicks wrote in a statement shared by Insider.

In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Schneider claimed that he was never inappropriate with staff. "I couldn't, and I wouldn't have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I'd mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors," Schneider said.

Additionally, female writers claimed that Schneider "openly stated he didn't like having female writers in the writers' room" although many of his shows featured female leads. None of Schneider's shows ever credited more than two female writers, Insider notes, with Zoey 101 and Drake & Josh having no female writers during their runs.

Kayla Alpert told the outlet that Schneider said that women were not funny and asked her to name a funny woman. "It speaks to something very dark and very wrong," Alpert said. Jenny Kilgen, who worked on The Amanda Show, accused the show's production company of gender discrimination and creating a hostile work environment, though Schneider wasn't specifically named in the suit. The case was eventually settled out of court.

<p>Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Nickelodeon</p>

Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

What Nickelodeon shows did Dan Schneider work on?

Schnider has credits on Good BurgerKenan & KelAll ThatThe Amanda ShowWhat I Like About YouiCarlyDrake & JoshZoey 101VictoriousSam & CatHenry Danger, and Game Shakers.

What other allegations were made in Quiet On Set?

Daniella Monet, who starred in the show Victorious, claimed that she expressed concern over a scene that she saw as too sexual, but Nickelodeon didn't cut it. She also said that female actors would frequently sit on Schneider's lap on the Zoey 101 set.

Virgil Fabian, the director of All That, and cast members Giovonnie Samuels, Kyle Sullivan, Bryan Hearne, and Katrina Johnson also appeared in the documentary. Hearne and Samuels shared that they experienced racism on set, alleging they were often cast in "stereotyped" roles and treated poorly by Schneider.

Drake & Josh star Drake Bell spoke about being sexually assaulted when he was 15 by dialogue coach Brian Peck. In 2004, Peck was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading "no contest" to a lewd act against a child and oral copulation with an unnamed Nickelodeon child actor; Bell came forward as the minor mentioned in the case.

"I was sleeping on the couch where I usually sleep, and I woke up to him," Drake said in a clip from the documentary, according to People. "I opened my eyes, and I woke up and he was … he was sexually assaulting me. And I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react."

“You know anytime I had an audition or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian's house," Bell continued. "And it just got worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and I was just trapped. I had no way out. The abuse was extensive, and it got pretty brutal."

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p>

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Which actors have spoken out since Quiet On Set?

On Mar. 22, Bell's Drake & Josh co-star, Josh Peck, posted about Quiet on Set, writing that it “took a few days to process it.” He explained in an Instagram post, “I reached out to Drake privately, but wanted to give my support for the survivors who were brave enough to share their stories of emotional and physical abuse on Nickelodeon sets with the world. Children should be protected. Reliving this publicly is incredibly difficult, but I hope it can bring healing for the victims and their families as well as necessary change to our industry.”

Nancy Sullivan, who played Drake’s mother on Drake & Josh, also publicly shared her support for Bell. “It broke my heart into a million pieces to hear just how much Drake was holding inside while we were working together,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I was both devastated and proud seeing the man he’s grown into sit down on camera and bravely tell his truth.”

Ned’s Declassified School Survivor’s Guide stars Devon Werkheiser, Lindsey Shaw, and Daniel Curtis Lee ridiculed Bell's situation, but later apologized, saying that the trio hadn’t yet seen Quiet on Set when they made the “super shit” joke. Werkheiser wrote an apology on X, which read, “Everyone was asking us for our opinions on it, and I get it. Now, having seen the documentary, it’s so disturbing. Now, we’ve watched it, and I get it. If I had just watched especially that third episode and then watched us joking like that … I would be like, ‘Are they sociopaths? Is something wrong with them?’”

“I hate that this happened,” Shaw added. “I hate that we compounded any trauma around this situation that means so much to each of us. I am sorry.” Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas, who was also among the Nickelodeon stars that appeared in Quiet on Set, posted a YouTube series following the show's release.

“I’m going to cut to the chase here: You don’t feel anything, Dan. You have no idea what accountability is," she said in one clip. "You’re searching for it, maybe, but you haven’t landed on it. That’s for sure. This is not the way."

Matthew Underwood, who starred as Logan on Zoey 101released a statement on Instagram that explained the traumatic experiences he had on set made him quit acting altogether. “I know many folks want me to respond to the Quiet on Set documentary," he wrote. "I’m going to share something with you that I never thought I’d have to talk about publicly, as it’s honestly none of your business anyway."

The actor shared he was groomed and molested at age 12 by his best friend’s stepfather and would go on to lose contact with his friends because he “couldn’t spend any time with them without feeling the personal disgust and betrayal brought on by a man I trusted as a father to me.” He was also "sexually harassed and then assaulted” at 19 by his agent at the time. Underwood noted that he reported his former agent and the man was fired, but remains “active in the industry."

Allie DiMeco, who starred in The Naked Brothers Band, posted a series of TikTok videos about her own experiences with Schneider and Nickelodeon after the release of the docuseries. She noted that she was “stressed” while watching Quiet on Set and also experienced trauma while working on the Nickelodeon series.

“There was an episode where Rosalina ‘cheated’ on Nat and kind of kissed a French guy,” she said, noting that she did not want to kiss him. “He’s a 30-year-old man. I’m sorry, I couldn’t even watch it. It gives me fucking the ick, and it honestly gives me PTSD." She added that she felt pressured to comply even though she was uncomfortable because she feared that she'd lose her job if she spoke up.

Kenan Thompson addressed the documentary while appearing on The Tamron Hall Show on Mar. 27, voicing his support for survivors. He said that although he did not share the same experiences as some of the other stars, he supported their decision to speak out.

“Because all these things happened after I left, basically, and Dan [Schneider] wasn’t really on Kenan & Kel like that. I mean, he got a ‘created by’ credit, but it was a different showrunner. So, our worlds weren’t really overlapping outside of all that, necessarily. And then all that negativity kind of started happening outside of our tenure there,” Thompson said. "I think it’s a good thing that the doc is out, and it’s putting things on display that need to be, you know, stories that need to be told for this, accountability sake. But it’s definitely tough to watch because I have fond memories of that place, and I have fond memories of my co-stars and stuff like that. So, to hear that they’ve gone through terrible things like that, it’s just, it’s really tough.​​”

What was Nickelodeon's response to Quiet On Set?

The network said it has taken action to investigate any allegations to create a "workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct," according to a statement shared by NBC News.

In a statement shared by ABC News, Nickelodeon stated that it "cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct." The statement went on to add that Nickelodeon has "adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to own high standards and the expectations of our audience."

In a statement shared by BuzzFeed after Bell's appearance on Quiet on Set, Nickelodeon said, "Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward.”

Has Dan Schneider responded to Quiet on Set?

Schneider posted a response video after the series debuted. "Watching over the past few nights was very difficult," he said. "Me facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret … and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology."

He went on to say that he felt that any scenes from Nickelodeon shows that could be seen as "inappropriate" or are "upsetting somebody" could be edited out. He added that all Nickelodeon shows and scripts had been approved by network executives.

What protections do child actors have?

Quiet on Set isn't the first time that child actors and lax labor laws have made headlines.

“I know a lot of kids that grew up in the industry,” actor Evan Rachel Wood explained in a 2020 documentary called Showbiz Kids. “And what surprised me when I got older was finding out that pretty much all of the young men were abused in some way sexually."

According to the Huffington Post, labor protections for child actors are left up to the states. Seventeen states have no protections for child actors at all. In California, there are many laws designed to protect children’s earnings and screen any people who work with child actors. AB 1660 requires that certain professionals who work with children pass an FBI background check.

“Whatever laws you have, they have to be enforced, and whoever has to enforce them has to have the resources to do it,” Day Krolik, a New York University adjunct law professor, told Vox. According to a Deadline investigation in 2018, "AB 1660 was rarely enforced."

Alyson Stoner, a former Disney Channel star known for her role in the Camp Rock franchise, shared in a video essay for People that she hoped that there would be resources for child actors, and brought attention to a proposed law requiring that a mental health professional be present on set.

"While traversing extreme peaks and valleys of global fame, hidden medical hospitalizations, artistic milestones, rapid adultification, and multi-layered abuse I wish on no one, I narrowly survived the toddler-to-trainwreck pipeline," Stoner said. "In fact, nothing was designed for me to end up normal. Stable. Alive. Something I have learned is that as long as we are enchanted or complacent, we're also vulnerable. This applies to families in Hollywood as well as consumers at home. Together, we can change the narrative."

Where can you stream Quiet on Set?

The first four episodes of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV are available to stream on Max. The fifth episode, "Breaking the Silence," will air on Investigation Discovery on Apr. 7 and will be available to stream on Max.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.

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