Bill Maher compares Nickelodeon to Neverland Ranch following Quiet on Set revelations

‘I don’t even like kids, but I also think it’s every adult’s job to protect them,’ late-night host said

Maira Butt
Saturday 20 April 2024 11:56 BST
Bill Maher compares Quiet on Set to Neverland

Bill Maher has compared Nickelodeon to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch following the release of Quiet on Set, a documentary about allegations of child sexual abuse at the channel.

The 68-year-old comedian dedicated a segment of his show, Real Time with Bill Maher, to an in-depth takedown of the treatment of children working in the media on Friday (19 April).

“Have you all been watching the [HBO] Max documentary Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kid’s TV?” he asked his audience, referring to the bombshell series featuring former Nickelodeon stars, including Drake Bell as they share experiences of abuse.

“OMG. Nickelodeon... it wasn’t a studio, it was Neverland Ranch with craft services,” Maher said.

“It is just scene after scene, clip after clip of the child stars of their day being subjected to obviously inappropriate highly sexualised degradation,” he continued. “I was grossed out, and I’ve been camping with John Waters.”

Neverland Ranch was the home and private amusement park of superstar musician Jackson, who faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse during his lifetime – claims he vehemently denied.

Maher said he was ‘grossed out’ by the emerging allegations
Maher said he was ‘grossed out’ by the emerging allegations (HBO/Real Time with Bill Maher)

He lived at the property until 2005, abandoning it after his acquittal on child molestation charges. He died four years later, in 2009.

The property featured in Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed’s 2019 documentary about Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of children while living at the residence.

Neverland Ranch was Michael Jackson’s home and personal amusement park
Neverland Ranch was Michael Jackson’s home and personal amusement park (Rex Features)

“Why am I always the one having to defend them? I don’t even like kids,” Maher continued. “But I also think it’s every adult’s job to protect them.”

The Independent has contacted Nickelodeon for comment.

Quiet on Set saw Drake & Josh star Bell allege that he was a victim of abuse at the hands of dialogue coach Brian Peck.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

“The abuse was extensive, and it got pretty brutal. I really don’t know how to elaborate on that on camera,” Bell said in an episode of the docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

He added that he faced a “slow decline” in his mental health, and that the “misinformation” from his child endangerment case “absolutely destroyed” him.

In August 2003, Brian Peck, who is not related to Bell’s co-star Josh Peck, was arrested on more than a dozen charges related to sexual abuse allegations involving an unnamed minor.

A year later, he pleaded no contest to performing a lewd act with a 14 or 15-year-old and to oral copulation with a minor under 16. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender in October 2004.

The revelations from Quiet on Set have caused waves in the TV industry, with multiple stars including The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Balik and Saturday Night Live comedian Kenan Thompson showing their support for those affected.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673).

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in