Dan Schneider breaks his silence following the release of explosive documentary which made shocking claims about the ‘toxic environment’ at Nickelodeon

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The former executive producer, 58, appeared in an interview shared to YouTube
  • The 19-minute video saw Schneider discuss ID’s Quiet On Set documentary
  • Schneider admitted that had previously overstepped professional boundaries 

Dan Schneider has broken his silence following the release of an explosive documentary which made shocking claims about the ‘toxic environment’ at Nickelodeon during his tenure.

The former executive producer, 58, appeared opposite BooG!E, who played T-Bo on iCarly, in an interview shared to his own YouTube account which has been dormant for more than three years.

The 19-minute video saw Schneider discuss ID’s Quiet On Set documentary, released at the weekend, which he said had made him ‘face his past behaviors.’

Schneider admitted that had previously overstepped professional boundaries and conceded he owed ‘some people a pretty strong apology.’

Dan Schneider has broken his silence following the release of an explosive documentary which made shocking claims about the ‘toxic environment’ at Nickelodeon during his tenure

Schneider, who was previously described as 'Nickelodeon's golden boy,' began working at the network in 1993 (pictured with Ariana Grande)

Schneider, who was previously described as ‘Nickelodeon’s golden boy,’ began working at the network in 1993 (pictured with Ariana Grande)

Schneider, who was previously described as ‘Nickelodeon’s golden boy,’ began by addressing the furor head on as he explained: ‘Watching over the past two nights was very difficult. 

‘Me facing my past behaviors – some of which are embarrassing and that I regret. I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.’

Schneider, who began working at the network in 1993, is said to have ‘launched the careers of child actors who became major stars’ including Miranda Cosgrove, Jamie Lynn Spears and Ariana Grande.

But he was later flooded with allegations before being sued over accusations of gender discrimination, hostile work environment and harassment – many of which were divulged in the new documentary.

It wasted little time in dishing that the period of the 1990s and 2000s ‘marked one of the darkest chapters,’ writer Scaachi Koul said.

Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen were hired as co-writers for The Amanda Show and split a single salary – as the network got ‘two writers for the price of one.’

‘It was early on when we first started that Dan said he didn’t think women were funny,’ Christy said.

‘He had fostered this very casual, fun atmosphere but I felt that Dan could be very volatile and could turn any moment. I was scared.’

Christy Stratton, who was hired as a co-writer for The Amanda Show, said: 'Working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship'

Christy Stratton, who was hired as a co-writer for The Amanda Show, said: ‘Working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship’

Former assistant Amy Berg also took to X, formerly Twitter, in recent days to slam Schneider as a 'f***ing a**hole'

Former assistant Amy Berg also took to X, formerly Twitter, in recent days to slam Schneider as a ‘f***ing a**hole’ 

She branded him as a 'psychological tormenter' and a 'manipulator' before claiming his treatment caused her to suffer panic attacks, anxiety, and develop a 'heart arrhythmia'

She branded him as a ‘psychological tormenter’ and a ‘manipulator’ before claiming his treatment caused her to suffer panic attacks, anxiety, and develop a ‘heart arrhythmia’ 

She said that staff were left feeling ‘paranoid and uncomfortable,’ concluding: ‘Working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship.’

Jenny also dished on having a similar experience, sharing that he ‘didn’t really value women in the writers’ room.’

But that was not all because, dishing on the depths of the inappropriate behavior at the channel, she claimed: ‘Dan was showing pornography on his computer screen. He asked me several time to massage him in the writers’ room and in the studio…

‘You always felt like disagreeing with Dan or standing up for yourself could result in getting fired. 

‘One of the worst, we were in the writers’ room and Christy was talking about high school which is relevant because we are writing for a young girl. 

‘And Dan just said: “You know what would be funny? If you leaned over the table and acted like you were being sodomized and told that story about high school.”‘

Jenny said that Christy had initially said no but Dan kept insisting and ‘she couldn’t get out of it.’

‘So she just leaned over the table and did what he asked her to do. It was upsetting to watch because I knew Christy at this point and I didn’t feel at all comfortable complaining to him.’

Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018

Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018 

She concluded: ‘It was probably the wrongest thing I have ever seen happen to a woman in a professional environment ever.’

Christy herself declined to talk about the incident but remarked that she felt sorry for her former self as she was just a young woman at the time. 

Ultimately, after quitting her role at the network, Jenny decided to sue Dan because she ‘didn’t want it to happen to other women in the future.’

‘I hired a lawyer and started blowing whistles. My lawyer filed complaints against the production company for gender discrimination, hostile work environment, harassment – and in response they did an internal investigation and they settled.

‘But it had a lasting impact on my career… To learn that it didn’t stop and that it was all for nothing.’

Former assistant Amy Berg also took to X, formerly Twitter, in recent days to slam Schneider as a ‘f***ing a**hole.’

She branded him as a ‘psychological tormenter’ and a ‘manipulator’ before claiming his treatment caused her to suffer panic attacks, anxiety, and develop a ‘heart arrhythmia.’

Addressing the widespread reports of inappropriate behavior in the writers’ room, Schneider said: ‘Let me just say no writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writers’ room. Ever. Period. The End. No excuses.

‘Most TV writers comedy writers have been in writer rooms and they are aware that a lot of times there a re inappropriate jokes made and inappropriate topics come up.

‘But the fact that I participated in that e specially when I was leading the room embarrasses me. I shouldn’t have d one it.’

He continued: ‘I can tell you why it hurts really bad for me. I remember very clearly my first experiences in the entertainment business.

‘I was green, I was scared, I was excited – it meant the world to me that I was getting those opportunities and I went in and I got lucky because they were great.

‘My first couple of experiences were fantastic and t he fact that I didn’t pay that forward to every employee that walked through my door it hurts my heart because I should have. I wish I could go back and fix that.’

The 19-minute video saw Schneider discuss ID's Quiet On Set documentary, released at the weekend, which he said had made him 'face his past behaviors'

The 19-minute video saw Schneider discuss ID’s Quiet On Set documentary, released at the weekend, which he said had made him ‘face his past behaviors’

Schneider conceded: ‘In the writers’ room there’s no doubt that sometimes those jokes went beyond t he pale and I said things that went too far or made practical jokes that went too far.

‘That was wrong and that was because I was an inexperienced producer. I was immature – it wouldn’t happen today but I’m just really sorry it happened.’

Elsewhere, he also apologized for his frequent requests for massages from female members of staff while in the studio.

‘It was wrong. It was wrong that I ever put anyone in that position. It was wrong to do. I’d never do it today. I’m embarrassed that I did it then. I apologize to anybody that I ever put in that situation,’ Schneider said.

‘Additionally, I apologize to the people who were walking around because there were lots of people who witnessed it who also may have felt uncomfortable so I owe them an apology as well.’

BooG!E urged Schneider to directly address the people who did not have a good experience working for him as he dished: I hate that anybody worked for me and didn’t have a good time… I would let the pressure of doing 40 or even more episodes per year get to me – which a good boss should never, ever do…

‘I would snap at people sometimes, I would be snarky when I could have given them a nicer answer, I would not give people the time that they needed, I would be in too big a hurry to get on to the next thing I had to do.

‘Watching [Quiet On Set], there were so many times I wanted to pick up a phone and call some of those people and say “I’m so sorry and let’s talk about it and I wish you had a better time and I wish I could have shown you a better experience.”‘

The documentary had also explained that Nickelodeon had raised eyebrows under Schneider’s leadership with some of its shows that were ‘full of uncomfortable sketches.’

Among them were ‘disturbing’ scenes that ‘sexualized’ child stars – including Ariana Grande who featured in scenes sticking her hand down her throat, putting her toes in her mouth, and talking about being ‘soaking wet’ at the age of 16.

Among the 'disturbing' scenes that 'sexualized' child stars - including Ariana Grande who featured in scenes sticking her hand down her throat, putting her toes in her mouth, and talking about being 'soaking wet' at the age of 16

Among the 'disturbing' scenes that 'sexualized' child stars - including Ariana Grande who featured in scenes sticking her hand down her throat, putting her toes in her mouth, and talking about being 'soaking wet' at the age of 16

Among the ‘disturbing’ scenes that ‘sexualized’ child stars – including Ariana Grande who featured in scenes sticking her hand down her throat, putting her toes in her mouth, and talking about being ‘soaking wet’ at the age of 16 

Other parts also showed Ariana trying to get juice from a potato and attempting to drink water upside down in a provocative position - which resulted in it spilling all over her head and chest

Other parts also showed Ariana trying to get juice from a potato and attempting to drink water upside down in a provocative position – which resulted in it spilling all over her head and chest 

Other parts also showed Ariana trying to get juice from a potato – which involved her squeezing it as hard as possible and letting out loud moaning noises – and attempting to drink water upside down in a provocative position – which resulted in it spilling all over her head and chest. 

‘It was clear that there was a permissibility around these sexualized jokes with children,’ commentators in the documentary shared.

Responding to the criticism, Schneider said: ‘All these jokes that you’re speaking of… every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny – and only funny.

‘Now we have some adults looking back at them 20 years later through their lens and they’re looking at them and they’re saying “oh you know I don’t think that’s appropriate for for a kid show.” 

‘I have no problem with that if that’s how anyone feels then let’s cut those jokes out of the show.

I want my shows to be popular… so if there’s anything in a show that needs to be cut because it’s upsetting somebody let’s cut it.

‘The last thing I want to ever do is put any content in a show that’s going to upset my audience and make them want to turn off the TV. Why would I ever want to do that?  That makes no sense.’

Schneider also insisted that there were ‘many, many levels of scrutiny’ at every stage to get a joke approved and also denied that he had ever been banned from his own set – branding it as a ‘false rumor.’

In recent days, a resurfaced clip being circulated online shows Schneider in a hot tub with an underage Amanda Bynes during a Nickelodeon sketch.

In recent days, a resurfaced clip being circulated online shows Schneider in a hot tub with an underage Amanda Bynes during a Nickelodeon sketch

In recent days, a resurfaced clip being circulated online shows Schneider in a hot tub with an underage Amanda Bynes during a Nickelodeon sketch 

Schneider, who is 20 years Bynes' senior, defended his friend ship with the child star and said he had only been trying to help her ' regardless of what s ome people may think '

Schneider, who is 20 years Bynes’ senior, defended his friend ship with the child star and said he had only been trying to help her ‘ regardless of what s ome people may think ‘ 

The scene in question – which is understood to have been filmed in 2002, when Bynes was around the age of 16 – shows Schneider sitting next to a bikini-clad Bynes for the skit, which he wrote himself, with commentators branding it as ‘very uncomfortable.’

But Schneider, who is 20 years Bynes’ senior, defended his friendship with the child star and said he had only been trying to help her ‘regardless of what some people may think.’

It was also revealed in the Quiet On Set expose that three members of Nickelodeon staff were charged over child sex abuse to varying degrees – as Drake Bell spoke for the first time about being abused by dialogue coach Brian Peck who was described as ‘very much one of the cogs in the Dan Schneider machine.’ 

But, in his new interview, Schneider was quick to distance himself from the predators and stated that he had not been responsible for hiring Peck.

He added: ‘When Drake and I talked and he told me what had happened I was more devastated by that than anything that ever happened to me in my career thus far.

‘I told him “I’m here for you, what do you need” which Drake mentioned in the show.’

Schneider went one step further by slamming the famous faces who had continued to show their support to Peck even after the charges came to light – sitting on his side in court and writing letters of support during sentencing.

He fleetingly broke down in tears as he said that Drake’s mom, who he is still in contact with now, had gone to him for advice in writing her speech for the judge at the time.

‘That was probably the darkest part of my career,’ he said.

It was also revealed in the Quiet On Set expose that three members of Nickelodeon staff were charged over child sex abuse to varying degrees - as Drake Bell spoke for the first time about being abused by dialogue coach Brian Peck (pictured)

It was also revealed in the Quiet On Set expose that three members of Nickelodeon staff were charged over child sex abuse to varying degrees – as Drake Bell spoke for the first time about being abused by dialogue coach Brian Peck (pictured)

Schneider shared: 'When Drake and I talked and he told me what h ad happened I was more devastated by t hat than anything that ever happened to m e in my career thus far'

Schneider shared: ‘When Drake and I talked and he told me what h ad happened I was more devastated by t hat than anything that ever happened to m e in my career thus far’ 

Schneider began wrapping up by admitting that there are ‘definitely’ things that he would do differently.

‘One that I think would be really, really important is when you’re hiring young actors – minors – to work in television I would suggest that we have a licensed therapist there to oversee that process for the specific reason of making sure that those kids really wanted to do this job – that they really wanted to be on television.

‘Maybe they should even be informed about what that means – what’s it going to mean if you’re famous, what’s that going to mean on social media, what’s it going to mean within your family. Let them find out.

‘That way if a kid doesn’t want to be on a TV show they can opt out.’

He continued: ‘Additionally, the main thing that I would change is how I treat people. I definitely at times didn’t give people the best of me.

‘I didn’t show enough patience. I could be cocky and definitely overambitious and sometimes just straight up rude and obnoxious. I am so sorry that I ever was.’

He concluded: ‘When I watched the show I could see the hurt in some people’s eyes and it made me feel awful and regretful and sorry.

‘I wish I could go back – especially to those earlier years of my career and bring the growth and the experience that I have now and just do a better job and never, ever feel like it was okay to be an a**hole to anyone ever.

I wanted to make funny TV shows for kids and we definitely did that but if I could go back I would get it done in different ways. I would just be nicer as often as possible and listen more to the people on my team.

‘I would do everything that I could to make sure that everyone had a good experience.’

Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018 and said at the time he was parting ways to pursue ‘other opportunities and projects.

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