Dan Schneider sues Quiet on Set producers for defamation, calls docuseries a ‘hit job’

Former Nickelodeon producer claims the docuseries ‘falsely implied that I was involved in or facilitated horrific crimes for which actual child predators have been prosecuted and convicted’

Inga Parkel
Wednesday 01 May 2024 22:19 BST
'Quiet on Set' documentary alleges abuse at Nickelodeon

Dan Schneider has filed a defamation lawsuit against the producers of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, accusing them of misleading viewers into thinking he was a child predator to increase ratings.

Last month, Investigation Discovery released its four-part docuseries, which included testimonies from former Nickelodeon child stars who pulled back the curtain to reveal a toxic underbelly of abuse, harassment, racism and sexism on the sets of shows led by Schneider.

The biggest bombshell to come out of the documentary was from Drake & Josh alum Drake Bell, who spoke out for the first time about the alleged sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of actor and since-convicted sex offender Brian Peck.

Following the release of the docuseries, Schneider released an apology video, saying that watching the documentary was “very difficult” as he faced his “past behaviours – some of which are embarrassing and that I regret”.

However, a new lawsuit filed by Schneider’s attorneys and obtained by The Independent reads: “Quiet on Set’s portrayal of Schneider is a hit job. 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 Independent has contacted ID for comment. 

The legal filing also claims that the series’ trailer, voiceovers and graphics “are purposefully and intentionally defamatory in that they falsely and repeatedly state or imply that Schneider is a child sexual abuser and committed crimes in this regard – and have been interpreted as such by countless average, ordinary or reasonable viewers”.

Dan Schneider photographed in 2011
Dan Schneider photographed in 2011 (Getty Images)

In a separate comment shared with The Independent, Schneider said: “Recently the docuseries Quiet on Set highlighted mistakes I made and poor judgment I exhibited during my time at Nickelodeon, most of which happened decades ago during my early career as a producer, working on shows for Tollin/Robbins Productions. There is no doubt that I was sometimes a bad leader. 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.

“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.”

Schneider is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, legal fee coverage and for preliminary or permanent injunctive relief, including editing, taking down or removing all or a portion of the Trailer and/or Quiet on Set.

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