Dan Schneider Says He Is Sorry for the Pain He Caused His TV Staff

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In an online apology, the former Nickelodeon producer addressed the many accounts of inappropriate behavior related by actors and others during a recent docuseries, “Quiet on Set.”

Dan Schneider, the children’s television producer and writer behind many of Nickelodeon’s biggest hits, released a video on Tuesday in which he apologized for some of his behavior on the job, including soliciting massages on set.

The video comes after the release of a documentary series in which former employees denounced him as a boss and objected to sexualized humor in his shows.

The four-episode series, “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” included interviews with numerous former employees on Schneider’s shows and former child actors who criticized the way he treated them or described the environment on the set as harmful.

Schneider declined to be interviewed for the series, which first aired Sunday and Monday. But it had the effect of drawing him out of relative obscurity to address the many complaints about the shows, and the treatment of the people who worked on them.

Schneider has rarely been in the public eye since separating from Nickelodeon in 2018, after an investigation by ViacomCBS, the parent company of Nickelodeon, which found that many people he worked with viewed him as verbally abusive.

“Watching over the past two nights was very difficult, me facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret, and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology,” Schneider said in a nearly 20-minute video posted to his YouTube channel.

His remarks were moderated by the actor known as BooG!E, who appeared in one of Schneider’s shows, “iCarly.”

In the documentary series, Jenny Kilgen, a former writer on “The Amanda Show,” Schneider’s early hit starring Amanda Bynes, said Schneider would make inappropriate and sexual jokes in the writers’ room, including asking her if she had a past doing phone sex, and would ask her to massage him.

“He would say things sometimes like, ‘Can you please give me a massage? I’ll put one of your sketches in the show,’” Kilgen said on the series.

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“And he would always present it like a joke, you know, and he would be laughing while he said it, but you always felt like disagreeing with Dan or standing up for yourself could result in you getting fired.”

A statement included in the documentary said Schneider denied Kilgen’s claims.

The series, which was produced in collaboration with a Business Insider reporter, Kate Taylor, who had previously reported on Schneider, said that Kilgen sued the show’s production company, alleging gender discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment. The lawsuit was ultimately settled.

In the apology video, Schneider called it “wrong” that he asked for massages, saying, “I apologize to anybody that I ever put in that situation, and even additionally, I apologize to the people who were walking around video village or wherever they happened, because there were lots of people there who witnessed it who also may have felt uncomfortable.”

Schneider also apologized for making inappropriate jokes in the writers’ room: “The fact that I participated in that, especially when I was leading the room, it embarrasses me. I shouldn’t have done it.”

In the documentary series, which was directed by Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz, former employees also recalled Schneider yelling at work — one former writer described him as “volatile” and that he could “turn at any moment”

Former child actors objected to extreme tasks that they were asked to do in a “Fear Factor”-esque television segment in which actors recalled being asked to do stunts such as guzzling sugar and lying covered in peanut butter while a dog licked their body.

Schneider expressed regret for both sets of complaints, saying, “Watching that show, there were so many times I wanted to pick up a phone and call some of those people and say, ‘I am so sorry.’”

Through clips from past Nickelodeon shows, including “Zoey 101” and “iCarly,” the series has aired objections to material on children’s television that many saw as barely veiled sexual innuendo and questioned how they ever got on the air.

In seeking to defend himself against accusations that parts of his shows were inappropriate for minors, the former TV producer said that adults were now looking at jokes written for children “through their lens,” but added he would be willing to cut out parts of the show that were upsetting to people.
“If there’s anything in a show that needs to be cut because it’s upsetting somebody, let’s cut it,” he said.

He also pointed to “many, many levels of scrutiny” at the network over the content of his shows, denying that he had unilateral power over the scripts.

Much of the viral docuseries focused on three Nickelodeon employees who were convicted of child sex crimes, including Brian Peck, a former dialogue coach.

In the show, Jared Drake Bell, one of the stars of Schneider’s show “Drake & Josh,” detailed the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Peck, who pleaded no contest in 2004 to two felonies: oral copulation with a minor, and lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

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Bell recalled in the series that Schneider offered his support after the revelations about Peck, and in Schneider’s video, the former producer recalled Bell’s ordeal as the “darkest part of his career.”

“When I watched the show,” Schneider said of his experience watching the documentary, “I could see the hurt in some people’s eyes.”

source: nytimes.com/arts/dan-schneider-apology-quiet-on

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