Dan Schneider first wrote on All That, which premiered from 1994 to 2020, and was a children’s version of Saturday Night Live.
Dan Schneider first wrote on All That, which premiered from 1994 to 2020, and was a children’s version of Saturday Night Live.
(Photo Credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona Online)

5 things revealed in the docuseries, Quiet on Set

The docuseries, Quiet on Set, premiered on Max streaming and has taken the internet by storm, unveiling the reality of what popular child stars endured on the sets of Nickelodeon shows, from the late 90s to the early 2000s. The series has shocked fans, describing the toxic work environment, inappropriate behaviors, and dangers the children were exposed to while working for the children’s network. The series elaborates on Nickelodeon’s ex-creator, Dan Schneider, who was responsible for numerous of the network’s biggest hits, including All That, The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, iCarly, Victorious, Sam and Cat, and Zoey 101. While there were numerous unsettling events that occurred throughout these stars’ experiences, these are the top five events that were emphasized by the production. Content warning: mentions of sexual assault, molestation, and child endangerment follows. 

Dialogue coach, Brian Peck, was convicted of abusing Drake Bell: 

Drake Bell is a former child actor, known for his roles in The Amanda Show as well as Drake and Josh. However, when he appeared during the third episode of the series, the audience was taken aback, as he explained, he was there to “tell [his] story”. Perhaps the most disturbing story on the show, Bell goes into detail about his abuse from Brian Peck. Peck was hired by Nickelodeon as an acting coach but quickly inserted himself into every aspect of Bell’s life (who was fourteen and fifteen at the time). During this time period, Peck (45) attended every single one of Bell’s concerts, took him individually to Disneyland, and threw him birthday parties. The dynamic took a turn for the worse when Bell’s dad, Joe Bell, suspected Peck’s inappropriate intentions and reported it to Nickelodeon. However, Joe Bell’s report was dismissed, and Peck drove a wedge between the father and son. Peck then took Bell to each of his auditions and convinced his mother to allow him to stay at his house. This is when Bell began experiencing the sexual assault, which went on for multiple months. Bell eventually reported the abuse to his mother and the police, but hesitated to do so out of fear. At the trial, however, Bell was astonished to see the abundance of support accompanied by Peck, in addition to the dozens of support letters, written by celebrities like James Marsden and Alan Thicke. Peck was then sentenced to sixteen months in prison and was registered as a sex offender. Despite being caught for his predatory behavior, Peck was continually hired by children’s shows after his release, and went on to show how power and authority can diminish the true crimes Peck committed. 

Production assistant, Jason Handy, was convicted of child exploitation: 

Throughout the second episode of the docuseries, it was revealed that Jason Handy, who was a production assistant on The Amanda Show, was convicted of multiple charges regarding his inappropriate behavior with young girls on his shows. Handy was in charge of guiding the kids around the production sets, as many stars and parents found him charismatic and fun-loving. One mother goes into detail about her daughter’s experience with Handy. As a guest star on the show, and in hopes of appearing on other shows, the eleven-year-old girl exchanged contacts with Handy for professional purposes. After a few months of innocent exchanges, Handy sent disturbing content to the child, and the mother caught it. Handy was then investigated, where detectives found his journals, where he wrote about his abuse towards a nine-year-old girl and a collection of bags containing mementos along with young girls’ names. Handy went on to be sentenced to six years and was registered as a sex offender. When he was released after several years, he was caught again, and is now in prison, sentenced until 2038. Handy’s case disturbed numerous children and demonstrated how Nickelodeon put their child actors in the hands of criminals.  

Dan Schneider’s lawsuit for gender discrimination: 

Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen described their experience as the only female writers for season one of The Amanda Show. The two women were forced to split the salary of one writer, which none of the male writers experienced. In addition, the writers talked about how Schneider forced them to act out sexual content for their sketches to be evaluated, asked them for back massages, and exposed them to pornography while at work. Schneider did not include the female writers in much of the decision-making, even making them stand outside while the rest of the staff listened to his thoughts. He went on to show his true colors regarding women, when he claimed, “Women aren’t funny”, angering Stratton and Kilgen. He often demanded they work for sixteen hours a day, discouraging taking bathroom and lunch breaks. Stratton and Kilgen’s struggles intensified when Schneider fired Stratton for taking two personal days. This behavior continued when he offered Kigen a twenty-seven week contract, but was only willing to pay her for sixteen weeks. Kilgen then quit and filed a lawsuit against Schneider, for gender discrimination. Although the two parties settled before landing in court, Kilgen set into motion a legal act to stop this from happening to other women in the business. 

Cast members described Dan Schnieder’s toxic behavior over time: 

Dan Schneider was an admired name in the business, generating tons of money for Nickelodeon. While Schneider did foster a fun and upbeat environment on set during his early days of working on All That, his toxic behaviors became increasingly worse and more frequent as he accumulated more power. Girls claimed he not only asked the female writers Stratton and Kilgen for massages, but girls in the shows as well, leading to an uncomfortable situation for the children. He was verbally abusive and manipulated cast members at work, saying the kids were “stupid” and “idiots”, and claimed, “[They] would have no job if it wasn’t for him”.  Another director, named Virgil Fabian, claimed the energy completely changed when Schneider appeared on set. iCarly star, Jennette McCurdy wrote in her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, about an unnamed abuser that continued to abuse the kids, and how she was extremely exploited. McCurdy added that the network offered her a payoff in hopes of her not sharing these unfortunate experiences. In addition, Schneider also included many indiscreet, adult jokes that often disturbed viewers and actors while rewatching. This ranged from the emphasis on feet, tongues, and objects that purposely resembled genitals. Schneider was later fired from Nickelodeon, but claimed, “[He] left for other opportunities”. This goes on to show the numerous scandals Schneider has faced, and the surplus of child actors that have endured his toxic work environment.

Dan Schneider reacted to Quiet on Set with an apology video, saying he regrets asking girls for massages and offered to cut the inappropriate scenes from the show.
(Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Amanda Bynes’ close relationship with Schnieder: 

Child actor, Amanda Bynes, might’ve been the child actor Schneider was closest to. She became a prominent star on the series All That and then Schneider created her spin-off series, The Amanda Show. Needless to say, the pair fostered a close relationship that others claimed was very disturbing. This close relationship was examined through his interjection into her personal life, as he got involved with her emancipation from her parents at age sixteen. They continued to work together on the WB’s What I Like About You, where Bynes attempted to break away from being a child actor. The docuseries hones in on a scene from The Amanda Show, where Schneider places Bynes into a hot tub with a bikini on, opposite from himself, fully clothed. Fans on social media added more commentary about this scene, elaborating on how inappropriate it was. To further explore this inappropriate relationship, fans of the docuseries also looked into Amanda Bynes’ pseudonym on Twitter, to find a previous tweet about how her “boss” impregnated her and forced her to get an abortion at thirteen years old. While Bynes never explicitly names Schneider in her tweet or otherwise, fans consider to speculate about his inappropriate involvement with Bynes as a child. 

All in all, Quiet on Set shocked viewers, as it can be understood what it was truly like to be a child star in these well-beloved productions. It is saddening to see how many children were affected by the inappropriate behaviors of their bosses, and how women were sexualized from childhood to adulthood. It is not only upsetting to watch, but even worse to empathize with them through the details provided across the episodes.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

For us to post your comment, please submit your name and email with the comment. Thanks!
All Achona Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *