Dan Schneider Sues ‘Quiet on Set’ Producers for Defamation

Dan Schneider, the former creator and showrunner of Nickelodeon series “All That,” “iCarly,” and “Zoey 101,” is suing the producers of the hit documentary series “Quiet on Set.” IndieWire has obtained the lawsuit.

Schneider says his portrayal in the Investigation Discovery series, which peels the layers back on alleged child abuse — including, in some cases, sexual abuse — on Nickelodeon series of the era, is a “hit job” and that his reputation has been “destroyed” by the popularity of the series. The suit names Warner Bros. Discovery, Maxine Productions, Sony Pictures Television, and directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz.

“‘Quiet on Set’s’ portrayal of Schneider is a hit job,” the lawsuit from Schneider’s attorneys Jana Moser and Richard McKie reads. “While it is indisputable that two bona fide child sexual abusers worked on Nickelodeon shows, it is likewise indisputable that Schneider had no knowledge of their abuse, was not complicit in the abuse, 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 first of those two “bona fide child sexual abusers” is dialogue coach Brian Peck, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an anonymous victim back in 2004. The series reveals in its third episode that “Drake & Josh” and “The Amanda Show” star Drake Bell was the anonymous victim. The other convicted child sexual abuser discussed in the docuseries is production assistant Jason Handy, who sent inappropriate emails to underage actors who appeared on Nickelodeon series. Handy was convicted on child sexual exploitation charges in 2004, registered as a sex offender after his release in 2009, and was again arrested in 2014.

It continues, saying that he was “blind” to the worst abuses and will atone for his behavior.

“No doubt Defendants will try to obfuscate what this lawsuit is about by pointing to what they did get right — and Schneider will be the first to admit that some of what they said is true,” it reads. “At times, he was blind to the pain some of his behaviors caused certain colleagues, subordinates, and cast members. He will regret and atone for his behavior the rest of his life. 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.”

Schneider’s lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages, including the potential loss of future earnings, as well as punitive damages, and legal fees. The suit further seeks injunctive relief — essentially the removal of the series from its various platforms.

“Quiet on Set” features interviews with former child stars, writers, and crew members on Schneider’s Nickelodeon shows who across the five-episode series have accused Schneider of fostering a toxic work environment and sexualizing child stars. The series has become the most-watched streaming title in Max’s history.

After the series first aired, Schneider responded to the accusations in a video and also issued a statement to press, saying in part that the series highlighted his mistakes at Nickelodeon and hinting that legal action against the producers would be a possibility.

“There is no doubt that I was sometimes a bad leader,” Schneider wrote. “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. 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.”

He continued: “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.”

“Quiet on Set” has been a lightning rod for other debate, with some of the subjects, like former Nickelodeon game-show host Marc Summers claiming the producers did a “bait and switch” on him in terms of the intentions of the documentary. Directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz later responded to the claims and denied Summers was ambushed, saying “We are clear with each participant about the nature of our projects.”

IndieWire also recently spoke with two other survivors involved in the series who felt exploited by the material, shut out from the creative process, and were unaware the series was intended for release through ID.

SOURCE: Indie Wire

About Michael Zotos 400 Articles
Founder and owner of Performer.com/Performer Media LLC, a multimedia content creator for a variety of national plus local print & electronic media affiliates.