A Bunch Of Former Nickelodeon Cast And Crew Members Are Accusing The Network Of Fostering A “Toxic” Work Environment In A New Docuseries, And Here’s Everything We Know So Far

The upcoming documentary alleges that three “predators” worked on the sets of Nickelodeon kids’ shows, while one ex-employee claimed that an “enormous trove” of child pornography was once found.

Warning: This article discusses child abuse and sexual misconduct.

Last week, Investigation Discovery released a trailer for its upcoming four-part docuseries, Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which is about Nickelodeon.

"Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV"

The network noted that the documentary, which is set to be released in March, will uncover the alleged “toxic and dangerous culture behind some of the most iconic children’s shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s,” with several former Nickelodeon cast and crew members sharing their experiences.

The cast of "Victorious" accepting an award

At several points, the trailer mentions Dan Schneider, who created many popular Nickelodeon shows since the ’90s, including The Amanda Show, Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, iCarly, and Victorious.

Dan Schneider hugging Miranda Cosgrove

In 2018, Nickelodeon parted ways with Dan after an investigation revealed that he’d been verbally abusive toward some of his staff members.

Closeup of Dan Schneider

At the time, Dan had also been accused of sexual misconduct, though the investigation did not find any evidence of this. Dan later denied any wrongdoing and defended his “high standards” in a 2021 interview with the New York Times, where he claimed he'd never acted inappropriately with his staff. He said, “I couldn't, and I wouldn't have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I'd mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors.”

The following year, Nickelodeon came under fire after former child star Jennette McCurdy released a tell-all memoir that reignited conversations around how she and her peers were allegedly treated while at the network.

Jennette McCurdy sitting and speaking into a microphone, dressed in a shirt and dark pants, with a background of stacked books

Jennette — who starred in iCarly — referred to an unnamed figure called “The Creator” in her book. She claimed that this “Creator” rubbed her shoulders, made her wear a bikini, and had her drinking alcohol all while she was underage.

Jennette McCurdy onstage

Then, Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas — who has long been vocal about her alleged negative experience at Nickelodeon — protested outside of the network’s headquarters with a sign that read, “Nickelodeon didn't protect me.”

Alexa holding a sign that says "Nickelodeon didn't protect me"

This sparked a heap of fresh social media conversations around the way Nickelodeon child actors were treated, with several people looking back on their favorite childhood shows through a different lens.

Two characters from a TV show sharing a kiss, in casual clothing

And before long, Business Insider ran a separate investigation into Dan. This time, actor Daniella Monet, who starred in Victorious, claimed that she once expressed concern over a scene that she felt was too sexual, but Nickelodeon refused to cut it. What’s more, Alexa alleged that the teenage female actors would frequently sit on Dan’s lap on the Zoey 101 set. Dan did not comment at the time, and a spokesperson for him tells BuzzFeed now that this claim is “absolutely untrue.”

Closeup of Daniella Monet

Fast-forward to today, and ID is further unpacking what allegedly went down on the sets of these Nickelodeon shows.

Dan Schneider with the cast of "iCarly"

In the documentary trailer, Dan is described by various reporters as the former “Golden Boy” of Nickelodeon, who “shaped children's entertainment and culture” for decades.

Dan Schneider on set

However, Dan has actually faced numerous “allegations of abuse, sexism, racism, and inappropriate dynamics with underage stars and crew,” the documentary press release states.

Dan Schneider's door

As for the former cast and crew members featured in the docuseries, ID has revealed that several people are set to share their experiences — including former All That director Virgil Fabian, and cast members Giovonnie Samuels, Kyle Sullivan, Bryan Hearne, and Katrina Johnson.

Various Nickelodeon actors

Alexa also appeared in the trailer and said, “I’ve been waiting 17 years for today.” Writers of The Amanda Show, Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton, as well as Double Dare host Marc Summers are all partaking in the series, too.

Closeup of Alexa Nikolas

Meanwhile, the trailer features claims made by unnamed former employees. One person said, “Dan’s treatment of people on his shows was an open secret,” with another adding, “It was a toxic environment. It made me trust people less.”

Dan Schneider accepting an award

Other former staff members alleged that they’d experienced “gender discrimination” and “harassment” on Nickelodeon sets, which were described as “hostile” work environments.

Document close-up highlighting phrase "sexually hostile work environment" in a legal context

The trailer also alleges that there were three “predators” who worked on the sets of kids’ shows. One ex-employee claimed that an “enormous trove” of child pornography was found, while someone else then added, “The officer said, ‘We found Ziploc bags, each one with a girl’s name on it.'”

Document excerpt with the words "plastic baggies" highlighted

Another person said, “11 charges related to a child actor,” while an alleged police report appeared that read, “Peck was coaching the victim.” It’s currently unclear exactly what or whom those documents refer to.

Document excerpt highlighting "Peck was coaching the victim" in a legal context

In response to ID’s docuseries, a spokesperson for Dan tells BuzzFeed: “Dan cared about the kids on his shows even when sometimes their own families unfortunately did not. He understood what they were going through and he was their biggest champion.”

Dan Schneider accepting an award

“The fact is many of the kids on these shows are put in the untenable position of becoming the breadwinner for their family and the pressure that comes along with that. Add on top of that the difficulties of growing up and having to do so under the spotlight while working a demanding job, all as a child. That is why there are many levels of standards, executives, lawyers, teachers, and parents everywhere, all the time, on every set, every day. However, it is still a hard place to be a kid and nobody knew that better than Dan,” the statement continues.

Closeup of Drake Bell and Dan Schneider

“Dan is the first to admit that he was a challenging boss to work for. People worked long hours and he could be a perfectionist. He was also very young at the time and had no concept of what it was to be a boss. Under the deadlines of production he could get frustrated at times and he understands why some adult employees and other adult network executives found that to be difficult,” the statement concludes.

Dan Schneider and Jamie Lynn Spears sitting next to each other

BuzzFeed also reached out to Paramount, the company that owns Nickelodeon, which declined to comment.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV will premiere on ID on March 17.

If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.

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