Dan Schneider Sues ‘Quiet on Set’ Producers and WBD for Defamation, Says Show Falsely Implied He Was Involved in ‘Horrific Crimes’

“After seeing ‘Quiet on Set’ and its trailer, and the reaction to them, I sadly have no choice but to take legal action,” Schneider says

Dan Schneider accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award during Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards in 2014
Dan Schneider accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award during Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards in 2014 (Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Former Nickelodeon executive and writer Dan Schneider has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. Discovery and the producers of “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” accusing them of defamation.

“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,” Schneider said in a statement obtained by TheWrap.

WBD did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. The series has become Max’s most-watched title ever since its March debut.

The four-part Investigation Discovery documentary series — and its fifth installment “Breaking the Silence” — “investigates the abuses experienced by children from the adults they expected to trust,” per ID’s description of the series. It also features accounts from former child stars who worked on Schneider’s Nickelodeon series during the ’90s and early 2000s. 

Schneider’s attorneys Jana Moser and Richard McKie filed the lawsuit, which lists Warner Brothers Discovery Inc., Maxine Productions, Sony Pictures Television and individual producers Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz as defendants.

In the paperwork, Schneider’s team called the program’s portrayal of Schneider 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,” Schneider’s legal team wrote. “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 lawsuit goes on to outline what they claim are examples of the defendants defaming Schneider in the series, highlighting images, scenes, cautionary messages and more from the show. In one section of the suit, his attorneys said ID’s logo “True Crime Event,” implies that Schneider committed a “true crime,” as he is the main subject of “Quiet on Set.” It also pointed out “Quiet on Set’s” opening graphic, which reads, “This series investigates the abuses experienced by children from the adults they were expected to trust.” From their view, the message is implying that Schneider is a “criminal and child abuser.”

As for the sexually suggestive scenes from his sitcoms, Schneider’s attorneys stated they were taken “out of context.”

“While defendants take certain scenes out of context from hundreds of hours of television in an attempt to support their defamation of Schneider, the television scenes referenced were not intended to be inappropriate in any way. It is telling that these clips remain on television today. Further, at least some of several child actors’ references to feeling ‘unsafe’ relate to some of the jokes or stunts performed on the shows, and not child sexual abuse,” they wrote. “Defendants intentionally and purposefully take these statements out of context and combine them with a reference to falsely state or imply that Schneider sexually abused children, and that is why they felt unsafe.”

As a result of Schneider’s suit, he is demanding a trial by jury “on all causes of action.” In addition, he is seeking a judgement in an amount to be determined at trial.

The former TV executive wants “compensatory damages relating to past and future loss, past and future economic loss, damage to reputation, damages to business, lost revenues, other economic injury and emotional damages.” He’s also seeking to have “Quiet on Set” edited, taken down and a portion or all of the trailer removed.

Read Dan Schneider’s full statement, below:

Schneider began his career at the children’s TV channel in 1993, helping write and develop the kids sketch comedy show “All That.” Over the span of 25 years, he created, wrote and produced a slew of other successful shows, including “Kenan and Kel,” “Sam & Cat,” “Drake & Josh,” “Zoey 101,” “iCarly” and more. Nickelodeon ended their deal with Schneider in 2018 after the allegations surfaced.

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.

Comments

One response to “Dan Schneider Sues ‘Quiet on Set’ Producers and WBD for Defamation, Says Show Falsely Implied He Was Involved in ‘Horrific Crimes’”

  1. Erik Hanson Avatar
    Erik Hanson

    I worked for Nickelodeon during those days (up til 2018) and everyone in the NY office knew Schneider was a monster. There were a couple meetings in which the then President of Nickelodeon, Cyma R was given complaints and notes made by the marketing staff about Dan Schneider and she would dismiss them, every time.
    Almost like profits outweighed the sleazy stuff being shown on screen.

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