Dan Schneider Calls Nickelodeon Docuseries a ‘Hit Job’ in New Lawsuit

Frazer Harrison/KCA2014
Frazer Harrison/KCA2014

Embattled kids TV creator Dan Schneider, who fell from grace at Nickelodeon in 2018 amidst reports that numerous members his staff has complained of his abusive behavior, has now filed a lawsuit against the creators of the explosive docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which included many allegations of Schneider’s misbehavior when it dropped in March.

“Recently the docuseries Quiet on Set highlighted mistakes I made and poor judgment I exhibited during my time at Nickelodeon,” Schneider said, in a statement provided to The Daily Beast regarding the suit. “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,” Schneider continued. “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.”

How Dan Schneider Made Nickelodeon Into a ‘House of Horrors’

In the lawsuit, which has been reviewed by The Daily Beast, Schneider alleges that Quiet on Set falsely states or implies that he is a sexual abuser of children. Schneider is accusing Warner Bros Discovery, Maxine Productions, Sony Pictures, and series co-directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz of defamation.

Quiet on Set’s portrayal of Schneider is a hit job,” the suit states, that “destroyed Schneider’s reputation and legacy.”

The Daily Beast reached out to Warner Bros. Discovery for comment.

Quiet on Set features several interviews with past collaborators, who accused Schneider of creating hostile, demeaning work environments during the production of several of his juggernaut Nickelodeon shows, including All That, The Amanda Show, Sam & Cat, Zoey 101, and iCarly. Among the specific claims were allegations from two female former writers on The Amanda Show, who said they were subjected to sexist hazing in the Schneider-led writing room.

The docuseries also scrutinizes Schneider’s habit of requesting massages from staffers, a behavior for which he apologized in a statement following the show’s debut in March.

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The docuseries also highlights the age-inappropriate sexual innuendo featured in many Schneider-directed scenes and storylines on his kids shows. For example, discussing a scene in Zoey 101 when a tube of goo squirts on the actress Jamie Lynn Spears’s face, co-star Alexa Nikolas says, “We heard the boys saying, ‘It’s a cum shot.’”

“All these jokes that you’re speaking of that [Quiet on Set] covered over the past two nights, every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny—and only funny,” Schenider said in March, as part of a broader apology for his “past behaviors.”

Quiet on Set also unpacks the level of involvement that two child sexual abusers—dialogue coach Brian Peck and ex-PA Jason Handy—had in the Nickelodeon productions at issue, but Schneider insists in his lawsuit that he “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.”

“No doubt Defendants will endeavor to obfuscate what this lawsuit is about by pointing to what they did get right—and Schneider will be the first to admit that some of what they said is true,” the suit continues. “At times, he was blind to the pain that some of his behaviors caused certain colleagues, subordinates, and cast members. He will regret and atone for this behavior the rest of his life. But one thing he is not—and the one thing that will forever mar his reputation and career both past and present—is a child sexual abuser.”

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