Dan Schneider defamation lawsuit quiet on set
Main Image: Dan Schneider on BooG!e Wonderland's YouTube show on March 19.

Former Nickelodeon children’s show creator Dan Schneider is suing the producers of the ID docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV for defamation.

Schneider’s lawyers Jana Moser and Richard McKie filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday. The defendants in the case are Warner Bros. Discovery, Maxine Productions, Sony Pictures Television, Inc., Quiet on Set co-director and executive producer Mary Robertson, and co-director and co-executive producer Emma Schwartz.

What the Defamation Suit Argues Against Quiet on Set

In the suit, Schneider’s lawyers describe the docuseries as a “hit job,” arguing that the defendants falsely accused Schneider of sexually abusing children who worked on his Nickelodeon television shows. The suit says convicted child sex offenders Brian Peck and Jason Handy did work on Nickelodeon shows, but argues that Schneider didn’t know about their actions at the time.

“While it is indisputable that two bona fide 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. But for the sake of clickbait, ratings, and views — or put differently, money — Defendants have destroyed Schneider’s reputation and legacy through the false statements and implications that Schneider is exactly that,” the suit reads.

During Schneider’s time at Nickelodeon, which began in the 1990s and ended in 2018, he worked on shows including All That, The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, and Victorious.

Dan Schneider’s Statement About Filing the Suit

Reps for Schneider provided the following statement to MovieMaker regarding his decision to file the defamation suit on Wednesday:

“Recently the docuseries Quiet on Set highlighted mistakes I made and poor judgment I exhibited during my time at Nickelodeon, most of which happened decades ago during my early career as a producer, working on shows for Tollin/Robbins Productions. There is no doubt that I was sometimes a bad leader. I am sincerely apologetic and regretful for that behavior, and I will continue to take accountability for it.

“However, after seeing Quiet on Set and its Trailer, and the reactions to them, I sadly have no choice but to take legal action against the people behind it. In their successful attempt to mislead viewers and increase ratings, they went beyond reporting the truth and falsely implied that I was involved in or facilitated horrific crimes for which actual child predators have been prosecuted and convicted.

“I have no objection to anyone highlighting my failures as a boss, but it is wrong to mislead millions of people to the false conclusion that I was in any way involved in heinous acts like those committed by child predators. I owe it to myself, my family, and the many wonderful people involved in making these shows to set the record straight.”

Also Read: Quiet on Set Filmmakers Tell Us Whether They’ll Interview Amanda Bynes

Representatives for Quiet on Set, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, Schwartz and Robertson did not immediately respond to MovieMaker‘s requests for comment about the defamation suit on Wednesday.

Released on March 17, Quiet on Set details several different accusations from former Nickelodeon child stars and former adult employees against Schneider. It has drawn a powerful reaction from fans who grew up with Nickelodeon, and inspired hard questions about the vulnerabilities of child actors.

Quiet on Set also notably provides a platform to Drake & Josh star Drake Bell, who came forward with allegations that he was sexually abused by Nickelodeon acting coach Brian Peck during the making of The Amanda Show. Peck was arrested in 2003 at the age of 43 for lewd acts with a child. Bell testified at Peck’s trial, but has only just recently publicly identified himself as the minor whose family accused Peck of molesting him over a six-month period in the early 2000s.

Two former The Amanda Show writers, Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen (both of whom were adults when they worked for Nickelodeon), and other women who worked on Schneider’s sets in the 1990s and early 2000s said that Schneider often asked female employees to give him shoulder massages during work hours. Schneider apologized for the massages in in a video talk with iCarly actor BooG!e, responding to Quiet on Set.

The writers, along with other former Nickelodeon child actors including Giovanni Samuels, Leon Frierson and Shane Lyons, also accuse Schneider of creating a culture of fear on set that made them feel that they could not refuse requests even if they were uncomfortable. They — and a chorus of internet critics — also question whether some of the jokes made at the expense of teenage girls on Schneider’s shows were sexual in nature.

Case in point: a viral video compilation of a young Ariana Grande on Victorious, in which she squeezes a potato and pours water on her chest. It was one of several viral videos that Robertson and Schwartz said sparked them to begin making their docuseries.

Schneider has denied that his jokes were sexually charged and argued that anything that aired on Nickelodeon went through “many layers of scrutiny” from higher executives. After hearing that child actors were uncomfortable with some of their scenes in various shows, however, he has said he regrets that they were put in those situations.

Main Image: Dan Schneider on BooG!e Wonderland’s YouTube show on March 19.