Dan Schneider Denies ‘Sexualizing’ Nickelodeon Child Stars, Says Everything Was ‘Carefully Scrutinized by Dozens of Involved Adults’

After ID’s new docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV closely examined some of Dan Schneider’s series (including The Amanda Show, All That, iCarly and Victorious), the former Nickelodeon creator is denying allegations that his shows appeared to sexualize young child stars like Ariana Grande and Jamie Lynn Spears.

“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 our sister site Variety. “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.

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“Remember, all stories, dialogue, costumes and makeup were fully approved by network executives on two coasts,” the statement continued. “A standards and practices group read and ultimately approved every script, and programming executives reviewed and approved all episodes. In addition, every day on every set, there were always parents and caregivers and their friends watching filming and rehearsals. Had there been any scenes or outfits that were inappropriate in any way, they would have been flagged and blocked by this multilayered scrutiny. Unfortunately, some adults project their adult minds onto kids’ shows, drawing false conclusions about them.”

An August 2022 Business Insider exposé covered similar ground as the docuseries segment in question, recounting how a Zoey 101 scene with Spears evoked a sexual act, and how Victorious star Victoria Justice as a teenager had food rubbed on her bare stomach in online extras.

The two-part docuseries (which began Sunday and continues Monday at 9 pm ET on ID) features cast and crew members who worked with Schneider at Nickelodeon throughout the 90s and early 2000s. In addition to claims of inappropriate workplace behavior that included sexism and racism, the special also featured crew members alleging that they were continuously asked to massage Schneider on set. “Dan deeply regrets asking anyone for neck massages,” his team said in response. “Though they happened in public settings, he knows this was highly inappropriate and would never happen again.”

Nickelodeon, in a statement regarding alleged behaviors on past productions, said, “Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors 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.”

Specifically regarding the testimony given by actor Drake Bell, Nickelodeon said, “We are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward.”

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