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Post: Dan Schneider sues ‘Quiet on Set’ producers for defamation, calls show ‘hit job’ – National



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Dan Schneider has sued producers of the series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV for defamation over what he’s called a “hit job” that falsely implies he sexually abused child stars of the Nickelodeon shows he created.

The series, developed by Investigation Discovery, aired in March and uncovered alleged abuse and misconduct by several adult employees at Nickelodeon in the 1990s and early 2000s. Schneider was accused of bullying and inappropriate interactions with the child stars and crew members who worked on his shows.

Quiet on Set also discussed the crimes of three convicted child sex offenders, including ex-dialogue coach Brian Peck, who served a 16-month prison sentence for sexually abusing child star Drake Bell. Former production assistant Jason Michael Handy, who was charged with a lewd act with a child under 14, and ex-animator Ezel Channel, who received a seven-year sentence for lewd acts on a minor, were also named.

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In the lawsuit obtained by Variety, filed May 1 in Los Angeles’ Superior Court, Schneider, 58, said the docuseries falsely implies he is also a child predator.

Schneider said he was unaware of any sexual abuse occurring at Nickelodeon and “condemned the abuse once it was discovered and, critically, was not a child sexual abuser himself.”

“But for the sake of clickbait, ratings, and views — or put differently, money — Defendants have destroyed Schneider’s reputation and legacy through the false statements and implications that Schneider is exactly that,” the lawsuit continues.

Schneider has sued Warner Bros. Discovery, Maxine Productions and Sony Pictures Television for defamation. The production companies have not commented publicly on the lawsuit.

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Schneider is seeking unspecified damages. He has also asked for the removal of any allegedly defamatory statements or visuals from the docuseries, or to have the docuseries taken down entirely.

The lawsuit points to a producer disclosure in the docuseries that said Schneider was never found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour. Schneider and his lawyers argue this is proof the producers were aware their narrative and visuals were advancing false allegations and unjustly comparing him to convicted sex offenders.

“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,” the lawsuit reads. “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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In a statement to Variety, Schneider said he has “no choice” but to take legal action against the producers of Quiet on Set.

“Recently, the docuseries Quiet on Set highlighted mistakes I made and poor judgment I exhibited during my time at Nickelodeon, most of which happened decades ago during my early career as a producer, working on shows for Tollin/Robbins Productions,” the statement reads. “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. “In their successful attempt to mislead viewers and increase ratings, they went beyond reporting the truth and falsely implied that I was involved in or facilitated horrific crimes for which actual child predators have been prosecuted and convicted.”

“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. I owe it to myself, my family, and the many wonderful people involved in making these shows to set the record straight,” he concluded.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is available to stream on Max in the U.S., where it is the platform’s biggest streaming title ever. (It can be watched in Canada on discovery+ or Prime Video.)

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Much of the production details the rise and fall of Schneider, who created several of Nickelodeon’s most popular children’s TV shows, including The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly and Victorious.

In March, after Quiet on Set first aired, Schneider addressed the claims against him and apologized for what he called his “embarrassing” on-set behaviour.

Schneider said he felt “awful and regretful and sorry” for how he the treated people who worked for him in his early career. He did, however, deny ever sexualizing the child stars in scenes for his Nickelodeon shows, and maintained that everything he wrote had to be approved by executives at the studio.

He left Nickelodeon in 2018 following an investigation that found he’d been verbally abusive to several staff members.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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