Dan Schneider Said He’s “Embarrassed” About His “Past Behaviors” As He Finally Addressed His Controversies Amid The Release Of The New Docuseries About Nickelodeon

“I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology,” said Dan, who was asked about everything from his “inappropriate jokes” to what went on in his writers’ rooms during a 20-minute conversation with iCarly actor BooG!e.

This article mentions allegations of child sex abuse and grooming.

Following the release of ID docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, Nickelodeon alum Dan Schneider has addressed all the controversy around him in a new 20-minute YouTube video.

Dan Schneider accepting a Nickelodeon award

Dan, 58, has created several prominent Nickelodeon series since the ’90s, including Drake & Josh, Victorious, The Amanda Show, and iCarly. The new Quiet on Set docuseries delves into several long-running controversies around Dan, while uncovering the alleged “toxic and dangerous culture behind some of the most iconic children’s shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.”

Cast of iCarly celebrating with a cake and balloons for the show's 19th episode

For some quick context, Nickelodeon parted ways with Dan in 2018 after an investigation revealed that he’d been verbally abusive toward staff members on the sets of his shows. In 2021, Dan denied any wrongdoing and defended his “high standards,” claiming that he had never been inappropriate with his staff.

Dan had also been accused of sexual misconduct in the 2018 investigation, though no evidence of this was found at the time. By 2022, Business Insider ran a separate investigation into Dan following claims made by former child stars like Jennette McCurdy, Alexa Nikolas, and Daniella Monet about their alleged experiences on the sets of his shows.

The controversies around Dan were addressed at length in Quiet on Set, with several former Nickelodeon cast and crew members sharing their experiences — including Drake Bell, who came forward as the alleged victim of convicted child sex offender Brian Peck.

Closeup of Drake Bell on the red carpet

Unsurprisingly, the docuseries has sparked heavy backlash online and reignited conversations around the way that various former child stars were treated.

The cast of several Nickelodeon shows onstage

And now, Dan has engaged in a 20-minute conversation about the docuseries with BooG!e, who played T-Bo on iCarly. A spokesperson for Dan told BuzzFeed that BooG!e — who was an adult when he starred in iCarly — reached out to Dan after watching Quiet on Set to “provide a platform” where he could “confront a lot of his previous behaviors.”

Closeup of BooG!e during the interview

The representative added that BooG!e “wants to make clear” that “he is not a journalist and wasn’t trying to be.”

First of all, Dan says in the video — which is available to watch on his and BooG!e’s YouTube channels — that he is “embarrassed” by his “past behaviors.” He says, “Watching over the past two nights was very difficult... Facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret. I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider during the interview

Dan addresses allegations made in the docuseries that he repeatedly asked female writers to massage him on set in front of other crew members. BooG!e describes watching this part of the program as “disturbing,” to which Dan replies, “It was wrong. It was wrong that I ever put anybody in that position. It was the wrong thing 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.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

“Additionally, I apologize to the people...who witnessed it, who also may have felt uncomfortable,” he adds.

In the docuseries, former The Amanda Show writers Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen — who were the only women in the writers’ room for Season 1 of the show — described their experiences as humiliating. Not only did they claim that Dan agreed to hire them if they split one salary between them, but Christy also alleged that she was once made to pitch an idea while pretending to be sodomized on the table in the writers’ room. Jenny further claimed that Dan made her watch pornography.

Closeup of Dan Schneider

Jenny filed a lawsuit against Nickelodeon in 2000, alleging gender discrimination and a hostile work environment. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

BooG!e doesn’t mention this part of the docuseries explicitly while speaking with Dan, though notes that what he watched was “not cool.” Dan immediately jumps in, saying: “I’m gonna cut you off, but if I can just cut right to the chase... No writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writers room. Never.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

“The fact that I participated in that, especially when I was leading the room — it embarrasses me. I shouldn’t have done it,” Dan continues.

“There’s no doubt that sometimes those jokes went beyond the pale and I said things that went too far, or made practical jokes that went too far, and that was wrong. And that was because I was an inexperienced producer, I was immature, it wouldn’t happen today, but I’m sorry it happened,” he adds.

As for the controversy around the female writers splitting their salary, Dan starts out by saying: “I have nothing to do with paying writers. I never have. I’ve never made a writer’s deal. And of all the writers I’ve been in a writer’s room with, I never even knew how much most of them were getting paid.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

When BooG!e asks how the two writers wound up splitting a salary, Dan replies: “There’s a common practice in television, when hiring writers, if you have a spot for a new writer, sometimes you’ll go to two writers and say, ‘Hey, if you two new writers for your first job are willing to share a salary, you can both have the job.’ They have the opportunity to say, ‘Yes, that sounds good,’ or, ‘No, no thank you.’”

“In this case, it was two women writers. I’ve done another show where that teaming was done with two male writers, and they split a salary. I did another show where it was a male and female writer, and they split a salary,” he says, clarifying that these were “all first-time writers looking for their first gig.”

Dan goes on to address the “significant number” of people who “didn’t have a great time” working for him. In the docuseries, former Nickelodeon crew members said that Dan could be “volatile” and left people “scared.” Editor Karyn Finley Thompson claimed she once keeled over from being overworked and had to be rushed to the hospital — only to immediately hear someone questioning how the show she was working on was “going to get finished.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

Dan says in his new YouTube video, “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, I would let that pressure get to me. Which a good boss should never, ever do.”

BooG!e and Dan Schneider in conversation

“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... 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,” he adds.

BooG!e then tells Dan that “some people” think that “some” of his past jokes were “inappropriate for children.” The “jokes” in question have been heavily scrutinized by fans and former Nickelodeon cast members in recent years, with Alexa Nikolas addressing one of the most “disturbing” scenes featured in Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 in the docuseries.

Closeup of Alexa Nikolas

The scene sees Alexa’s character accidentally “squirting” a tube of goo onto Jamie Lynn Spears’s face. Alexa claims in the docuseries that when the scene was being filmed, she heard cast members behind the cameras saying, “It’s a cum shot.”

Elsewhere in the docuseries, All That actor Kyle Sullivan looks back on a recurring skit with “Pickle Boy,” which featured now-convicted sex offender Brian Peck carrying around and eating pickles. The tagline for his character was, “Pickle Boy likes to hurt and tease pickles,” and the docuseries even included a clip of “Pickle Boy” pushing a pickle through a hole in the door to someone standing on the other side.

Without addressing these jokes explicitly, Dan tells BooG!e, “All these jokes that you’re speaking of, that the show 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.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

“Now, we have some adults looking back on them 20 years later through their lens, and they’re looking at them and they’re saying, ‘Oh, I don't think that’s appropriate for a kids show,’” he says.

Dan goes on to note that he’s open to having these controversial jokes cut from future reruns of his series.

Dan Schneider with the cast of "iCarly"

“If that’s how anyone feels, let’s cut those jokes out of those show[s]! Just like I would’ve done 20 years ago,” he says. “I want my shows to be popular. The more people who like the shows, the happier I am. So if there’s anything in a show that needs to be cut because it’s upsetting somebody, let’s cut it.”

Later on, Dan denies heavy speculation — which was mentioned by BooG!e — that he “had the power” to write and produce whatever he wanted during his time at Nickelodeon.

Closeup of Dan Schneider

“There were many, many levels of scrutiny. We had executives in LA, we had executives in New York... Approval at every stage. I’m talking about wardrobe, I’m talking about makeup, sound, sets, dialogue, jokes, everything,” he says.

Dan Schneider with Kel Mitchell and kids

Speaking of wardrobe, the docuseries sees All That cast member Leon Frierson recalling feeling uncomfortable when he wore tight-fitting costumes on set. “What really made me feel the most uncomfortable were the leotards. I was just a growing boy trying to grow into my body…and I felt very exposed,” he says, before later adding that he felt the superhero suit for his character “Captain Big Nose” resembled a “penis and testicles” on his shoulders.

“Frankly, it was uncomfortable,” he says. “In moments to myself, I was thinking, This is what we have to do to stay on the show.”

Dan notes, “These are my bosses. And then their bosses, and their bosses. And they’re approving all this. We’re also shooting it in front of all sorts of adults, and caregivers, and set teachers, and families.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

BooG!e pushes back here, telling Dan that the docuseries painted him as someone people were “afraid” to “confront.” To this, Dan claims that had his bosses — or anyone, for that matter — ever told him he’d crossed a line, he would’ve cut any inappropriate jokes instantly.

Closeup of BooG!e

BooG!e and Dan go on to discuss Nickelodeon’s past On Air Dare segment, which saw child stars completing dares similar to those featured in Fear Factor, like sitting in a tub of worms or being covered in peanut butter and licked by dogs.

In Quiet on Set, All That cast members Bryan Hearne and Kyle recall feeling uncomfortable watching their fellow castmates completing these dares. “We felt like we couldn't say no. It was a really uncomfortable situation, and after a while, it felt like we were just part of this torture chamber,” says Bryan.

“There was this weird dynamic where they were taking something that exists in an adult context, like Fear Factor, and transmogrifying it for kids. When you do that, it’s actually an inappropriate thing to do,” adds Kyle.

Speaking of the dares now, Dan notes: “Some of the On Air Dares went too far... Not all of them, not most of them, but some did.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

“At the time, I had no indication that any kid ever had a problem with them,” he says, noting that watching the docuseries made him aware of the children's discomfort. Here, Dan extends an apology to “every kid who ever had to do a dare that they felt uncomfortable with.”

Dan also addresses allegations that Black actors on his sets were mistreated, overlooked, and cast in racially stereotyped roles, with Bryan Hearne recently claiming that he was once referred to as a “piece of charcoal” by an adult on set.

Three smiling teenagers with a dog at an animal shelter event

BooG!e makes it clear that he isn’t going to speak on anyone else’s experience, but says that he personally saw Dan being “honored” for diversity within his work — something that Dan says he is extremely proud of.

Closeup of BooG!e

BooG!e then says that he was “bothered” by the way the docuseries portrayed Dan’s relationship with his cast members, to which Dan replies, “Yeah, it bothered me, too.” BooG!e claims that Dan was a trusted figure on set.

The pair go on to discuss Amanda Bynes, who was mentioned repeatedly in the docuseries. The program claims that Dan facilitated Amanda’s decision to run away from her family home and attempt to get emancipated from her parents.

Closeup of Amanda Bynes

Dan states that Amanda included him as a part of her team, along with her lawyer, manager, and publicist, when she attempted to get emancipated. “Amanda was between the ages of 16 and 17, and she wanted to get emancipated from her parents. Which was a fairly common thing with successful young actors — at least at the time,” he says, later noting that she was ultimately unable to get emancipated.

Amanda Bynes re-applying her lipstick outdoors

In the YouTube video, Dan also addresses the widespread claim that he was once banned from his own set, telling BooG!e that it “never happened” and was a “false rumor.”

Going on to discuss what BooG!e describes as the “darkest part” of the docuseries, the pair address Brian Peck’s arrest.

A closeup of Brian Peck signing autographs

Stating that he did not hire Brian, Dan says that he was wholly supportive of Drake Bell once he came forward as the alleged victim — something that Drake corroborates in the docuseries.

Closeup of Drake Bell

“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,” Dan says. “I told him, ‘I’m here for you, what do you need?’”

Closeup of Drake Bell in the docuseries

Dan then breaks down in tears as he recalls being approached by Drake’s mom, who asked him to help her with her speech for the judge ahead of Brian’s legal trial. Dan calls this period of his career the “darkest.”

Closeup of Dan Schneider

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is now streaming on Max.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.

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