Dan Schneider accused of hyper-sexual practices at Nick


An investigation into Dan Schneider, a former top producer at Nickelodeon who was let go in 2018, has shed light on new allegations of misconduct during his reign at the children’s cable network, where he allegedly fostered a “maddening, disgusting, controlling little bubble.”

The Business Insider story published Tuesday reported how Schneider — who was once described by the New York Times as “the Norman Lear of children’s television” — allegedly insisted on hyper-sexualized content in his shows, “the most revealing” teen costumes and male-dominated writers rooms and that he also asked for on-set massages. The piece said that the showrunner “created an uncomfortable, bizarre environment that he ruled over like a fiefdom”; it comes on the heels of parallel allegations against an unnamed “Creator” in “iCarly” star Jennette McCurdy’s bestselling memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”

Writers, actors and crew members told Insider that they were disturbed by sexualized scenes in Schneider’s scripts, such as a goo pop shot on “Zoey 101″ that mimicked a sex act and involved a young Jamie Lynn Spears. Another instance involved a teenage Victoria Justice having food rubbed on her bare stomach in “Victorious” online extras. Schneider also allegedly created a hostile work environment and traumatized many, the accusers said, all while curating some of the most coveted child acting gigs of the early 2000s.

Representatives for Nickelodeon did not comment Wednesday, and a representative for Schneider did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.

However, Business Insider repeatedly cited a person close to Schneider who refuted several of the allegations, saying that all costumes “were seen and approved by dozens of people, including the parents of the actors, and the state-licensed teachers on set”; that he “never fired a 6-year-old on set”; that he would “include some jokes intended for the parents”; and that he “regrets ever asking anyone [for massages] and agrees it was not appropriate, even though it only happened in public settings.”

Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s former president of content and production, told the Insider that a standards-and-practices group read every script for Schneider’s shows, that programming executives watched every episode and that parents and caregivers were always on set. “Every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved,” Hicks wrote in a statement to the outlet.

The former child actor joined Nickelodeon in 1993 as a writer on the hit series “All That,” a “Saturday Night Live”-style sketch comedy that starred Kenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes. Bynes went on to star in Schneider’s first series, “The Amanda Show,” which cemented his brand of slapstick comedy that kids loved.

He followed it with the hits “Zoey 101,” “iCarly” and “Victorious” and turned Nickelodeon into “a $10 billion-plus powerhouse,” the report said. Rising as the cable network’s breadwinner, Nickelodeon allegedly gave him immense power that enticed actors, child actors and their families to win him over because it could lead to better career prospects for his favorite cast or crew members, even their own series, the report said.

Schneider’s cast and crew described him as an obsessively hands-on creator, executive producer and writer and that he maintained a constant presence on the set.

“Zoey 101″ star Alexa Nikolas, who last week protested outside Nickelodeon’s headquarters and has publicly said she “did not feel safe around Dan Schneider” while working at Nickelodeon, detailed and corroborated various accounts in the report. She described Schneider as volatile and the on-set environment of “Zoey 101″ as “traumatizing.” She said she left the network when she was about 13 after a contentious exchange with her co-star’s sister, pop star Britney Spears, that resulted in Schneider later going on a tirade against Nikolas in front of Nick executives.

“He’s not a good guy,” Nikolas said. “And Nickelodeon was just letting it happen.”

Nickelodeon was also subject to a gender-discrimination and hostile-workplace claim made in 2000 that had not previously been made public in which a writer on “The Amanda Show” said Schneider had made her uncomfortable by persistently requesting massages. Schneider was not named as a party in the complaint.

The network parted ways with Schneider in 2018 under murky conditions, including years of whispers and two investigations into his alleged behavior, specifically that he was verbally abusive.

The Insider reported that McCurdy and her “Sam & Cat” co-star Ariana Grande made complaints about a producer on their show, which launched a 2013 investigation into inappropriate behavior on the set of the “iCarly” spin-off. The investigation concluded that Schneider had contributed to the “toxicity,” but McCurdy wrote in her book that at the time, “the Creator” was “no longer allowed to be on set with any actors.”

The show was canceled in 2014 after one season, but Schneider remained at Nickelodeon and created two more shows: “Game Shakers” and “Henry Danger.” Nickelodeon’s parent company, Viacom CBS, launched another investigation in late 2017 and early 2018 into Schneider’s “alleged sexual behavior,” the report said. Although it found no evidence of sexual misconduct, it concluded that Schneider could be verbally abusive.

Schneider has since kept a low profile, although he was the subject of a New York Times profile to promote the “iCarly” reboot” for Paramount+ (that did not include McCurdy) and said he never acted inappropriately toward co-workers. Still, the piece was met with some backlash. He’s also retreated from social media since the publication of McCurdy’s memoir this month.


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