Nickelodeon showrunner sorry after claims of abuse and inappropriate behaviour

Dan Schneider has apologised for inappropriate behaviour on the sets of Nickelodeon shows.

The former producer, who was behind shows such as Drake and Josh, iCarly, Victorious and The Amanda Show, left Nickelodeon in 2018.

Over the weekend, several actors, staff and former child stars alleged abuse, inappropriate behaviour and a toxic work environment while working on Schneider’s shows in Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

In a 20-minute video posted on YouTube on Tuesday, he called the docuseries “difficult” and “embarrassing” to watch.

“Facing my past behaviours – some of which are embarrassing and that I regret – and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology,” Schneider said.

In Quiet on Set, former writer for The Amanda Show Jenny Kilgen claimed Schneider would make inappropriate and sexual remarks on set and said he had asked her for a massage.

He said in his video it was “wrong” of him to do so, and added: “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.”

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Dan Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018. Pic: Reuters
Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018. Pic: Reuters

Schneider also said that any questionable content or jokes in the shows he produced should be cut, adding: “Every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny.

“Now we have some adults looking back at them 20 years later through their lens. I have no problem with that. Let’s cut those jokes out of the show.”

Schneider also reiterated there were “many, many levels of scrutiny” on his programmes, that multiple network executives approved the content and look of his shows, and dozens of adults were on set and never raised concerns.

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Drake and Josh star Drake Bell also alleged on Quiet on Set that he was sexually abused by Brian Peck, a former dialogue coach at Nickelodeon.

A representative for Peck did not respond to a request for comment from Sky News’ partner outlet NBC News on Bell’s allegations in the docuseries.

Peck pleaded no contest to and was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a 14- or 15-year-old child and oral copulation with a minor under 16, according to a case summary from Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Peck was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Bell said in Quiet on Set that Schenider was supportive of him.

When asked about Bells’s allegations of abuse, Schneider became emotional and said he did not hire Peck. He also called it the “darkest part of his career”.

Dan Schneider and Drake Bell in 2008. Pic: Rex
Schneider called Drake Bell’s allegations of abuse from Brian Peck the “darkest part of his career”. Pic: Rex

In June 2021, Bell entered a guilty plea during a case involving attempted child endangerment. The charges related to an online incident involving a 15-year-old fan in 2017.

He was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service.

A Nickelodeon spokesperson previously said in response to Quiet on Set: “Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviours 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.

“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.”

The New York Times reported in 2021 Nickelodeon cut ties with Schneider after an internal investigation found evidence of verbal abuse to colleagues. The investigation did not find evidence of sexual misconduct.

After Schneider’s video response, a spokesperson addressed the investigation and said “all that was found is that he was a challenging, tough and demanding person to work for and with, nothing else”.

Sky News has asked Dan Schneider’s representatives and Nickelodeon for comment.

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