A complete timeline of Nickelodeon producer Dan Schneider's controversies, from toxic workplace allegations to his response to 'Quiet on Set'

A complete timeline of Nickelodeon producer Dan Schneider's controversies, from toxic workplace allegations to his response to 'Quiet on Set'
  • A new docuseries called "Quiet on Set" has sparked renewed interest in producer Dan Schneider.

  • In 2018, Nickelodeon cut ties with Schneider, who was accused of creating a toxic work environment.

  • Schneider recently addressed the docuseries' allegations and apologized for his past behavior.

Nickelodeon hit its stride as the go-to place for children's programming after producer Dan Schneider joined the network in the '90s. But startling allegations over the years have tainted his beloved TV empire.

Schneider, who created popular Nickelodeon shows like "The Amanda Show," "Drake & Josh," and '"iCarly," has been the subject of renewed scrutiny on the heels of the release of Investigation Discovery's docuseries "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV."

Here's a complete breakdown of how Schneider's long-standing relationship with Nickdeleon ended, the allegations made against him, and what he's said in response.

March 26, 2018: Nickelodeon severs ties with Dan Schneider

Dan Schneider in Beverly Hills, California on December 8, 2010.
Dan Schneider attends HRTS annual newsmaker luncheon: "The Hitmakers" at the Beverly Hilton hotel on December 8, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.Brian To/FilmMagic

"Following many conversations together about next directions and future opportunities, Nickelodeon and our long-time creative partner Dan Schneider/Schneider's Bakery have agreed to not extend the current deal," Nickelodeon and Schneider said in a joint statement to Deadline.

It was a "natural time" to part ways since Schneider's production company was wrapping up projects, the statement added.

However, Deadline reported that there was more to the story behind Schneider's departure. According to the publication, Schneider had "well-documented temper issues for years," production days were long, and photos that he posted online of female actors' feet caused concern.

Nickelodeon launched two internal investigations due to concerns about Schneider's behavior. After a 2013 investigation, Schneider started giving notes to actors on "Sam & Cat" from his office, instead of directly interacting with them. Schneider told "Quiet on Set" producers that he wasn't barred from working with the actors, but simply chose to give notes from his office.

Still, the producer continued to work with the network and created the series "Henry Danger" and "Game Shakers." But the network launched another investigation into Schneider in 2017 regarding "alleged sexual behavior" on his sets amid the Me Too movement in Hollywood. The investigation found no evidence of inappropriate sexual behavior, but it did find proof of verbal abuse in the workplace.

As detailed by The New York Times in 2021, former colleagues called Schneider temperamental and difficult to work with. Others raised concerns about Schneider asking for massages and messaging the young actors off-set.

According to Page Six, Schneider received a $7 million payout when he left Nickelodeon. The Times later reported that the aforementioned money was "still owed in his contract."

June 30, 2021: Schneider reemerges after a 3-year hiatus via an interview with The New York Times

Dan Schneider in New York City on September 10, 2015.
Dan Schneider poses at the Apple Store Soho Presents: Meet the Cast: "Nickelodeon's Game Shakers" at (Photo by Eric VitaleEric Vitale/Getty Images

Schneider told the publication that he "took a break" after parting with Nickelodeon to focus on backburner things, like losing more than 100 pounds.

In response to accusations that his shows like '"iCarly" and "Victorious" contained scenes with sexual innuendos and that he sexualized the young stars, Schneider said that "the comedy was totally innocent."

He denied mistreating the actors and defended his management style, saying that he has "high standards."

As for his relationships with the actors, Schneider said, "I never interacted with actors in any way, texting or otherwise, that should make anyone uncomfortable."

The producer also said that he had become "more gentle at communicating" and teased multiple projects in development, including an "ambitious and very different" TV show pilot geared toward an adult audience.

But nothing actually materialized and Schneider mostly remained out of the spotlight.

August 9, 2022: Former actor Jennette McCurdy writes candidly about her experience starring on Schneider's 'iCarly' and 'Sam & Cat' in her debut memoir

Jennette McCurdy as Sam in season two of "iCarly."
Jennette McCurdy as Sam on season two of "iCarly."Nickelodeon

McCurdy's memoir, titled "I'm Glad My Mom Died," nabbed the spot on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list and remained on the list for a whole year. The book was an immediate hit, sparking conversations about behind-the-scenes tension at Nickelodeon.

McCurdy, who portrayed Sam Puckett on "iCarly" and the spin-off series "Sam & Cat," wrote about a powerful, controlling, and demanding person whom she referred to only as "The Creator."

McCurdy said that this unnamed figure pressured her into drinking alcohol while underage, yelled at her while she was filming a kissing scene with her "iCarly" costar Nathan Kress, and "explicitly" asked that bikinis be included in a wardrobe fitting.

August 30, 2022: Business Insider's Kate Taylor publishes an investigation with new allegations against Schneider and his tenure at Nickelodeon

Dan Schneider with the cast of "Victorious"
Show creator/exec. producer Dan Schneider (center) discussing the scene with stars Victoria Justice (left) and Avan Jogia (right) during the taping of a high school performance scene for the show Victorious at Nickelodeon's studio in Hollywood in 2009.Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Multiple writers, actors, and crew members who worked with Schneider spoke to BI as part of the investigation. Some former child actors shared positive comments about working with the producer, but one longtime writer described the environment fostered by Schneider as a "maddening, disgusting, controlling little bubble."

Alexa Nikolas, who starred as Nicole Bristow on "Zoey 101," said that Schneider's set was "traumatizing" and alleged that the show creator yelled at her in a conference room with Nickelodeon executives when she was 13. Daniella Monet, who played Trina Vega on "Victorious," said that the sitcom was typically "very PC, funny, silly, friendly, chill," but there were moments that were sexualized.

Writers said that they were subjected to grueling, long work days. Female staff writers, who were sparse on Schneider's productions, accused him of being sexist. BI's investigation brought to light a gender discrimination and hostile workplace claim filed by "The Amanda Show" staff writer Jenny Kilgen in 2000.

Other employees accused Schneider of asking for massages from adult female colleagues. A person close to Schneider said that the producer "regrets ever asking anyone and agrees it was not appropriate, even though it only happened in public settings."

March 17 and 18, 2024: ID releases the 4-part docuseries 'Quiet on Set' across 2 nights, detailing the dark side of Nickelodeon

Drake Bell in episode two of the Investigation Discovery docuseries "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV."
Drake Bell in episode two of the Investigation Discovery docuseries "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV."Investigation Discovery

"Quiet on Set" was directed by Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz and produced by Maxine Productions, a part of Sony Pictures Television Nonfiction, in association with Business Insider. BI's Taylor served as an executive producer.

The docuseries included interviews with multiple crew members and former Nickelodeon stars, including Nikolas, "Double Dare" host Marc Summers, and "All That" cast members Giovonnie Samuels and Bryan Hearne.

"The Amanda Show" writers Kilgen and Christy Stratton also participated in the docuseries and recalled splitting a salary when they were employed during season one. (Schneider stated that he had no control over salaries.) Aside from issues over pay, the two female writers alleged that Schneider showed the staff pornography on his computer and played degrading pranks on employees.

A spokesperson for Schneider told BI that Schneider is "extremely sorry for his behavior that contributed to that environment and he has grown a lot since then. That behavior is clearly wrong and not for the workplace, and certainly he would never act that way again."

"Quiet on Set" also included footage of scenes from Nickelodeon shows that have been viewed as inappropriate, like Nikolas accidentally spraying "Zoey 101" costar Jamie Lynn Spears in the face with a "goo pop."

"Everything that happened on the shows Dan ran was carefully scrutinized by dozens of involved adults, and approved by the network," a representative for Schneider told BI in a statement. "If there was an actual problem with the scenes that some people, now years later are 'sexualizing,' they would be taken down, but they are not, they are aired constantly all over the world today still, enjoyed by both kids and parents."

Dan Schneider, creator of Zoey 101, and star Jamie Lynn Spears in 2004
Dan Schneider and "Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears in 2004Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

The docuseries also detailed two predatory males who were employed at Nickelodeon and contributed to an unsafe environment for child actors: production assistant Jason Handy and dialogue and acting coach Brian Peck.

Handy, who described himself as a pedophile in his journal, was sentenced to six years in prison on two felony accounts and one misdemeanor involving two girls.

Peck was arrested in August 2003 on 11 charges of child sexual abuse related to an unnamed actor. Forty-one friends and family of Peck wrote letters supporting him and asking the judge for leniency in the case. Some of these letters were written by notable celebrities, including Alan Thicke, James Marsden, and "Boy Meets World" stars Will Friedle and Rider Strong.

The letters were sealed until Maxine Productions, one of the docuseries' producers, successfully petitioned the court to unseal them in 2023.

In October 2004, Peck was sentenced to 16 months in jail and ordered to register as a sex offender. "Quiet on Set" revealed that Drake Bell was the actor who was sexually abused by Peck when he was 15 years old.

In "Quiet on Set" and in an interview with BI, Bell said that he struggled with processing his experience after Peck's arrest, but Schneider checked in on him and offered support at the time and in the years that followed.

Bell, who began acting when he was 5 years old, described Nickelodeon as "a factory" that treated child actors as "expendable."

In a statement, Nickelodeon said that it had "adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience."

Bell said that he turned to self-destructive habits, but going to therapy and rehab recently has been instrumental in keeping him from going down a dark path.

After the release of the docuseries, Bell defended his "Drake & Josh" costar Josh Peck after he was criticized for not commenting publicly about the doc or Bell.

In a video posted on TikTok, Bell said that Peck "reached out to talk with me and help me work through this and has been really, really great."

Peck wrote a message on Instagram the following day, saying that he "took a few days" to process "Quiet on Set." He also said that he contacted Bell privately and supported the people who spoke out about their experiences at Nickelodeon.

March 19, 2024: Schneider releases a nearly 20-minute video in which he addresses allegations in the docuseries and apologizes for past behavior

After the docuseries was released in its entirety, Schneider sat down for an interview with BooG!e, aka Bobby Bowman, who played Groovy Smoothie manager T-Bo on "iCarly."

"Watching over the past two nights was very difficult," Schneider said. "Facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret. I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology."

Schneider said that the behavior that he exhibited back then wouldn't happen now. He admitted that the on-set massages were "wrong" and that he'd "never do it today."

"I apologize to anybody that I ever put in that situation," he said. "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, so I owe them an apology as well."

Regarding allegations about Schneider's writers room, the producer said, "No writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writers room, ever." He said that it's normal for inappropriate jokes or topics to come up in those settings, but he's embarrassed that he participated in it and made "practical jokes that went too far."

When asked about jokes on his shows that are viewed as inappropriate, Schneider insisted that they were written for a kid audience.

"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 'You know, I don't think that's appropriate for a kids show,'" he said. "I have no problem with that. If that's how anyone feels, let's cut those jokes out of the show, just like I would have done 20 years ago."

Dan Schneider with "iCarly" stars Jennette McCurdy, Jerry Trainor, Miranda Cosgrove, and Nathan Kress in July 2007.
Dan Schneider with "iCarly" stars Jennette McCurdy, Jerry Trainor, Miranda Cosgrove, and Nathan Kress in July 2007.Jason Merritt//Film Magic

Schneider acknowledged that there are people who didn't have a positive experience working with him. He chalked up his attitude to the pressure of doing 40 or more episodes per year.

He said that watching "Quiet on Set" made him want to call some of the people who spoke out and apologize for the part he played in their negative experiences. He also said that there are plenty of things he'd do differently.

"The main thing that I would change is how I treat people, everyone," he said. "I definitely, at times, didn't give people the best of me. I didn't show enough patience. I could be cocky and definitely over-ambitious, and sometimes just straight-up rude and obnoxious. I'm so sorry that I ever was."

"I wish I could go back to the earlier years of my career and bring the growth and experience that I have now, and just do a better job," he added.

Nikolas slammed Schneider's apology in a reaction video uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday.

"When someone doesn't personally come to you and apologize, it's not an apology," she said. "If you hear about it through other people, it's not really an apology, right? An apology is to the person that you hurt. That's what an apology is for."

"I would've appreciated if Dan apologized directly to me," she said. "He's a bully, a meanie, and impacted my life, right? ... Where's a phone call of an apology? How come you can do all of this, how can everyone do all of this but not reach out to the person that they hurt?"

Nikolas wasn't the only former Nickelodeon star who criticized Schneider's apology. Bryan Hearne, who starred on "All That," shared his reaction to Schneider's video during an interview with journalist Soledad O'Brien as part of a bonus fifth episode of "Quiet on Set."

"The thing about his interview as a whole is, I just thought it was funny," Hearne said.

"If I could be candid, Dan was an actor before all of this," Hearne continued. "And so I think that he brushed off some chops and gave us a nice performance. Where was all this apologizing when Jennette McCurdy's book came out?"

Fellow "All That" actor Giovonnie Samuels, who was interviewed alongside Hearne, said that Schneider reached out to her before "Quiet on Set" debuted and asked if she "could give a quote of support."

"He was like, 'You had a good time on set, right? Right?'" she recalled.

"I told him I was terrified of him," Samuels said.

May 14, 2024: 'All That' star Lori Beth Denberg accuses Schneider of showing her porn, initiating phone sex, and preying on her

Lori Beth Denberg on "All That."
Lori Beth Denberg on "All That."Nickelodeon

In a new interview with BI's Taylor, Denberg, who starred on four seasons of "All That" between 1994 and 1998, recalled Schneider being inappropriate with her.

According to Denberg, in 1995, Schneider showed her a video of a woman performing oral sex on a donkey. The actor said that she had sleepovers at Schneider's house, during which they gave each other massages and he played porn on his computer. Denberg also said that they often spoke on the phone and Schneider once initiated phone sex with her.

She described their dynamic as a "weird, abusive friendship," and accused Schneider of lashing out on the set of "All That." When Denberg was around 20 or 21, she said that Schneider fondled and put his mouth on her breasts while at his home.

In a statement to BI, Schneider said Denberg's accusations are "wildly exaggerated and, in most cases, false."

"As I have previously stated, there were times, particularly in the early years of my career, that I made mistakes and exhibited poor judgment as a leader," Schneider said. "If I did that with respect to Lori Beth, I sincerely apologize to her. But I cannot apologize for things I did not do."

Read the original article on Business Insider