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Dan Schneider responds to “Quiet on Set” documentary allegations: 'There's definitely things that I would do differently'

"I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology," the "Amanda Show" and "Drake & Josh" creator said in a response video.

Dan Schneider, the creator and executive producer of massive Nickelodeon hits like The Amanda Show  and Drake & Josh, is responding to numerous troubling claims made about him in the new documentary series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

In a 19-minute conversation with iCarly’s BooG!e, Schneider, who parted ways with Nickelodeon in 2018, addressed many of the claims reported by the four-part Investigation Discovery series. “Watching over the past two nights was very difficult,” the former All That showrunner said. “Me facing my past behaviors — some of which are embarrassing and that I regret and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.”

Schneider first acknowledged the repeated claims that he requested massages from crew and cast members in the workplace, confirming that the practice did occur. “It was wrong that I ever put anybody in that position,” he said. “It was a wrong thing to do. I'd never do it today — I'm embarrassed that I did it then. I apologize to anybody that I ever put in that situation and even additionally, I apologize to the people who were walking around video village or wherever they happened [to be] because there were lots of people there who witnessed it who also may have felt uncomfortable, so I owe them an apology as well.”

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Dan Schneider

Kevin Winter/Getty

Dan Schneider

Schneider also discussed his temperament in the writers’ room and on set, which many former Nickelodeon cast and crew members characterized as volatile, antagonistic, and inappropriate throughout Quiet on Set. “No writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writers’ room ever, period, the end, no excuses,” Schneider said.  “Most TV writers, comedy writers have been in writers rooms and they are aware that a lot of times there are inappropriate jokes made and inappropriate topics come up, but the fact that I participated in that, especially when I was leading the room, it embarrasses me. I shouldn't have done it.”

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“I wish I could go back and fix that in the writers room,” he continued. “There's no doubt that sometimes those jokes went beyond the pale and I said things that went too far or made practical jokes that went too far and that was wrong, and that was because I was an inexperienced producer. I was immature, [it] wouldn't happen today. I'm just really sorry it happened.”

“There's definitely things that I would do differently,” Schneider said near the end of the video. “The main thing that I would change is how I treat people and everyone. I definitely at times didn't give people the best of me. I didn't show enough patience, I could be cocky and definitely overambitious and sometimes just straight up rude and obnoxious and I am so sorry that I ever was. When I watched the show I could see the hurt in some people's eyes and it made me feel awful and regretful and sorry. I wish I could go back, you know especially to those earlier years of my career and bring the growth and the experience that I have now and just do a better job and never ever feel like it was okay to be an asshole to anyone, ever.”

Schneider also confirmed the claim that former Amanda Show writers Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton were asked to share one salary, but said that he was uninvolved in salary negotiations, and that salary-sharing is a common practice for new writers. “I have nothing to do with paying writers,” he said. “It's very simple, there's a common practice in television when hiring writers if you have a spot for a new writer: sometimes you'll go to two writers and say ‘Hey, if you two new writers for your first job are willing to share a salary, you can both have the job.’ They have the opportunity to say ‘Yes, that sounds good’ or ‘No, no thank you.’ In this case it was two women writers. I've done another show where that teaming was done with two male writers and they split a salary, I did another show where it was a male and a female writer and they split a salary.”

The former Amanda Show producer also defended the humor in his shows that some have deemed inappropriate for children, reiterating that the jokes would not have made it to air without numerous approvals from his superiors. “Every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny and only funny, okay?” he said. “Now we have some adults looking back at them 20 years later through their lens and they're looking at them and they're saying, ‘I don't think that's appropriate for a kid show’ and I have no problem with that. If that's how anyone feels, let's cut those jokes out of the show just like I would have done 20 years ago or 25 years ago — I cut it. I want my shows to be popular. I want everyone to like — the more people who like the shows, the happier I am. So if there's anything in a show that needs to be cut because it's upsetting somebody, let's cut it.”

Schneider also apologized for putting young performers in uncomfortable situations on On-Air Dares, a kid-oriented challenge show that drew inspiration from Fear Factor. I had no indication that any kid ever had a problem with them, but when I was watching the show over the past two nights, I now know that there were kids who did have problems with the On-Air Dares,” he said. “It breaks my heart and I'm so sorry to any kid who ever had to do a dare or anything that they didn't want to do or weren't comfortable doing. We went out of our way to make sure they were safe and that everything was done properly, but if a kid was scared and didn't want to do it, the kid shouldn't have had to do it, period, the end. And if I had known at the time, I would have changed it on the spot.”

In response to claims that Black actors felt uncomfortable while working on Schneider’s shows, he insisted that he’s always prioritized diverse representation. “Diversity has always been very important to me in my shows,” he said. “If you go back to the very first Nickelodeon show I ever made that's very evident as it is in the second one and then the first movie I ever made for Nickelodeon which starred Kenan [Thompson] and Kel [Mitchell], and every show I did after that had a lead Black actor in it. I'm very proud of that. It's very important to me, and not only am I proud that they were in my shows, I'm exceptionally proud of the achievements they've had beyond my shows. They've gone on to bigger and better things and that gives me a great sense of pride.”

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Dan Schneider

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Dan Schneider

Schneider also made a point to clarify his relationships with Drake Bell and Amanda Bynes. He said that he did not have any hand in hiring Bell’s abuser Brian Peck, and helped support the actor’s mother during Peck’s trial. “Drake's mom — a lovely woman who I stay in contact with to this day — she came to me at the time and she said ‘Dan, I'm not good with words like you are, would you help me with my speech for the judge?’ and I said, ‘Of course.’”

He said that at one point when Bynes was unsuccessfully attempting to legally emancipate herself from her parents, he helped her find a place to stay. “It was very late. Well, after midnight, or one or two in the morning, the phone rang,” he recalled.” I answered it and it was Amanda. She was in distress. She had had some conflict with her parents, I think her father, and she called. I was immediately concerned for her safety.” Schneider said that he made arrangements for someone to pick Bynes up and ensure her safety. “I felt better. She ended up being taken to the police.”

Schneider also recommended that any productions hiring minors should have a licensed therapist overseeing the process to ensure the kids actually want to do the job and are properly informed on what it means to be famous.

You can watch Schneider’s full video above.

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