"Quiet On Set": Breaking Down The Allegations Against Dan Schneider

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: (L-R) Actors Avan Jogia, Maree Cheatham, Noah Munck, writer/director Dan Schneider, actors Matt Bennett (back) and Chris Massey stand onstage at Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
The menacing Schneider wreaked havoc during his time with Nickelodeon.
Content Warning: This article contains details of child abuse & assault.

On March 17th  and 18th, Investigation Discovery released the long-awaited documentary, Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which exposes the once-secret conducts of Dan Schneider, creator and producer at Nickelodeon. Schneider's name is slapped across many ultra-successful kids TV shows, including  Zoey 101, All That, and The Amanda Show. He is also responsible for bringing many child actors into the limelight, some of whom remain celebrities to this day. However, beneath the surface of laughter, Schneider was an alleged terror. He was also reportedly behind several heinous crimes, which have long since remained rumors. Now, with the documentary out to the world, here are some of the inappropriate, disgusting things that took place in Schneider's studio as a result of his actions and inactions. While Schneider has denied the allegations, the people are not buying it one bit.

Sexism And Discrimination

Show creator/exec. producer Dan Schneider(center) discussing the scene with stars Victoria Justice(left) and Avan Jogia(right). (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

According to Quiet On Set, Dan Schneider went well out of his way to torture the women who worked with him, both young and old. Katrina Johnson, the original child actress from All That, worked with him from age 10 to 16. Soon after, all his attention and mentorship were suddenly directed toward the younger Amanda Bynes. Despite just reaching puberty and feeling very self-conscious, Johnson was repeatedly made to wear leotards on set. Worse yet, she was phased out of Nickelodeon once she hit puberty and gained weight. During her interview, she recalled a phone call to her parents where the producers allegedly told them, "She can't be the fat one. We already have a fat one.”

Another round of allegations came from two female writers who worked with Dan Schneider on The Amanda Show. Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen shared one salary and subjected them to sexist remarks. They alleged he made comments like “women can't be funny,” or referred to them as “the girls.” Stratton was asked to leave the show after an incident where Schneider ordered her to tell a childhood story while she mimed being sodomized, as the entire room watched. Meanwhile, Kilgen left after he asked her in a room full of her male writer colleagues if she had ever worked as a phone sex worker. Moreover, she worked a 16-week contract for a 27-week show. She worked without a salary for 11 weeks. Kilgen would later sue the company for discrimination, and settle out of court.

Racism 

The producer was also remarkably racist with his show ideas. Former child actor Leon Frierson, who was on two seasons of All That recalled the time he was embarrassed by Schneider's sudden request to take on the role of "Nose Boy," a character that had Frierson, a Black actor, wearing an enlarged prosthetic nose. The costume also featured black "nose" shoulder pads. Frierson did not speak on how racist the costume was but he did touch on how inappropriately sexual it was. He also spoke about how the costume was immediately recognizable as a giant black penis and testicles. True to Frierson's claims, "Nose Boy" was a character who liked to sneeze a clear white snot-like substance all over people.

A second racist caricature from Dan Schneider's time is "Little Fetus," “the youngest rapper of all time.” This role was given to a younger Bryan Christopher Hearne. Unsurprisingly, this character also required a costume: a flesh-colored skin suit and prosthetics for an extra large head. Hearne also mentioned that someone on the set commented how his skin suit ought to be “charcoal.” During an interview with GMA, Giovonnie Samuels and Bryan Hearne both explained how they felt subject to discrimination and racist jokes during their time working with Schneider.

Hearne's mother, Tracey Brown was also invited to corroborate the claim that Schneider had signed off on racist sketches and stories. Brown continued that she complained so much she began to feel like the odd one out. On a certain occasion, she had to raise an alarm about a scene involving a “young lady” massaging a producer in a scene. There was also a sketch featuring a Black child selling cookies by the side of the road that suggested the apparent innuendo of a Black person peddling drugs.

A Caucus Of Predators

An insane fact about Nickelodeon is that the network employed several convicted child sex offenders. Quiet On Set focused primarily on the victims of the abuses committed by Dan Schneider, as well as Jason Handy and Brian Peck. Handy was found out after he emailed a picture of himself masturbating to a child actor. Furthermore, when he was arrested in 2003, Handy was found in possession of several forms of child pornography: images, videos, and CDs. He also had journal entries where he confessed to being a “pedophile, full-blown.” Disappointingly, Handy was sentenced to only six years in prison after pleading no-contest to his charges.

Brian Peck was embroiled in more shocking confessions from the interviewees. It was revealed that he was a huge-time fan of serial killer clown, John Wayne Gacy, who preyed on men. Peck had a painting, as well as a stash of fan letters and correspondence with the imprisoned Gacy, which he proudly showed off to the children. In 2003, Peck was subsequently arrested on 11 charges of child sexual abuse. He had also victimized a child actor whose identity was concealed as John Doe.

The Drake Bell Reveal

Near the tail end of the documentary, Joe Doe is revealed to be Drake Bell. Peck used his position as Bell's acting and dialogue coach to detain him at his home and repeatedly assaulted him. He also managed to get Bell to fire his manager and father, Joe Bell. This was so he could have unsupervised access to the actor. Even more disappointingly, however, Peck was sentenced to only 16 months in prison on 2 of the 11 charges. After serving time for his repeated assault of Drake Bell, Brian Peck would go on to work at Disney Channel on The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody.

Conclusion 

All of the allegations against Dan Schneider in the Quiet On Set documentary have been very serious. This has led to many wondering how he managed to escape punishment for so long. However, these allegations have been bubbling up for a while. For example, it is important to recall that Schneider only left Nickelodeon in 2018, after he was accused of repeated verbal abuse, which was also underscored by rumors of child abuse and sexploitation. Also, in 2022 former child star Jeanette McCurdy all but confirmed that the rumors were true. In her acclaimed memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, she recalled her dealings with  “The Creator.” It didn’t take too long to figure out that the persona was, in fact, Dan Schneider.

In the days after the documentary was aired, Schneider released a 19-minute-long apology video. In it, he claimed all allegations were false. However, he offered little explanation as to how they were untrue. Needless to say, nobody bought it.

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.