The Perversion of Dan Schneider


Courtesy of Lisa Rose, Christopher Polk, Jason Merritt, Jeff Kravitz, Lauren Greenfield, Nickelodeon, Phillip Cheung and Ivan Mendoza

For years Dan Schneider curated several television shows that would resonate with several childhoods. However, the curtain behind the scenes seemingly revealed itself and now Schneider faces severe backlash for his heinous actions. As the renowned producer went on to create beloved shows such as “iCarly” and “Zoey 101”, he abused his power over writers and child actors in both verbal and sexual ways.

Ivan Mendoza, Reporter

Dan Schneider once ruled over Nickelodeon as a producer, involved in an extensive roster of TV shows including cult classics such as “iCarly” and “Victorious”. Kids around the globe drew closer to the characters portrayed in these sitcoms, and laughed along with the laugh tracks. During the 2014 Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, Nickelodeon would recognize Schneider’s impact on their network and children’s television as a whole by honoring him with their first Lifetime Achievement Award. However, over the following years, the internet began scrutinizing him for his verbal abuse and over-sexualization of child actors. Although his influence remains undeniable, his suspicious behavior behind the scenes requires as much spotlight as his TV shows. 

In 2018, Nickelodeon cut ties with the producer and his company Schneider’s Bakery. According to both parties, they separated due to his projects airing their final episodes and viewed it as a natural time for them to pursue other opportunities and projects. However, their departure coincidentally happened in the middle of an investigation concerning verbal abuse complaints. 

ViacomCBS conducted an investigation and found that he allegedly yelled and threw tantrums at co-workers and sent angry text messages to child actors outside of working hours. Angelique Bates, a cast member of the Schneider-produced show “All That” claims he yelled at her so intensely to the point where she ran off the set after facing issues with filming a skit. A longtime collaborator with the producer, Arthur Gradstein, spoke to the New York Times about how Schneider could encompass generosity and cause feelings of validation in his workers. Yet, he also claimed that at times, he would act controlling and unreasonably demanding in the workplace. 

In addition to that, several female writers claim that Schneider endorsed a misogynistic workplace. In the early 2000s, “The Amanda Show” writer Jenny Kilgen accused Schneider’s Bakery of gender discrimination and most notably creating a hostile work environment. People from his various shows also prove that he worked with a sexist mindset, as he rarely hired women because he viewed them as unfunny and wanted to keep them away from the writers’ room.

When rewatching any of Schneider’s programs, one detail becomes abundantly repetitive: his obsession with portraying feet. Various compilations on YouTube and countless Twitter threads found a common theme among his child actors, and how they shared multiple scenes of their bare feet. He essentially made his underage actors perform weird and unnecessary tasks with their feet, but according to him, this represented innocent comedy rather than a genuine fetish. This remains far from innocent, as the producer once asked underage viewers for foot pictures in preparation for a new Schneider-produced episode for Sam & Cat.

“SAM & CAT TOMORROW! Write on the bottom of ur foot, take a pic, and use #SAMandCATSaturday we’ll RT and follow until our fingers get sore,” Schneider said.

Not only did Schneider perpetuate his foot fetish to massive audiences of children, but he consistently sexualized his child actresses. Danielle Monet, known for her role as Trina Vega on “Victorious” recently spoke out about his wardrobe choices for female actors. Monet claimed that the outfits appeared far from age-appropriate and that he would always advocate for “skimpier outfits”. In fact, he went to the extent of arguing with Nickelodeon about the length of an actress’s skirt. Nickelodeon told the producer that the skirt looked too short for it to air on live television, but Schneider demanded no changes to the outfit. 

Monet also alleges that Schneider and his mostly male crew of writers curated unnecessarily sexualized content for his female actors. Alongside “Victorious”, the renowned producer directed a web series titled “The Slap”. 16-year-old Ariana Grande played a major role in this web series, as she even held her own category of videos titled “Cat’s Random Thoughts”. When watching the installments of the underage superstar, it became clear that Schneider forced Grande to perform sexual innuendos. Keep in mind that he wrote and directed the online installments featuring Grande, and a compilation of the videos currently garners over 11 million views on YouTube.

“Knowing that Dan Schneider directed this video footage [of then underaged Grande] makes this worse than it already is because of all the dialogue and actions that Ariana Grande was forced to do. Not only is it disturbing, but it’s also disgusting,” magnet junior Amsha Shastrula said. 

Jennette McCurdy recently released her stellar memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died”, where she discussed a plethora of topics such as her battle with anorexia and her experience in the industry. In the book, McCurdy refers to Schneider as The Creator and described him as controlling and as someone who could make grown adults cry with his insults and degradation. Additionally, McCurdy mentions several occasions where The Creator acted inappropriately toward her, such as instances where he would randomly massage her without her consent and push her to consume alcohol at only 18. She also recalls a time before turning 18 when a wardrobe designer took polaroid pictures of the child actress in a bikini. Due to her facing issues of body image, McCurdy asked if she could wear a one-piece instead. The wardrobe designer immediately told the actress that The Creator explicitly asked for bikinis, which meant that he would request polaroid pictures of underage girls in extremely revealing outfits. 

“I feel like I’m barely hanging on to my childlike body and the innocence that comes with it. I’m terrified of being looked at like a sexual being. It’s disgusting… I’m a child,” McCurdy said.

Alexa Nikolas, who starred as Nicole Bristow on Zoey 101, protested outside Nickelodeon’s headquarters in late August with approximately 20 other protestors. Outside the headquarters, Nikolas held a sign that stated Nickelodeon didn’t protect her while a protester beside her held a sign with an orange foot with the word ‘Sickelodeon’. This protest occurred weeks after McCurdy released her book, and both women share similar experiences with Schneider as Nikolas describes him as the creator of childhood trauma. In fact, both claim that Nickelodeon offered them nondisclosure agreements that would prevent them from publicly speaking out about him. For McCurdy specifically, executives offered her $300,000 in hush money to keep quiet about The Creator’s abuse.

As of now, Schneider faces no severe repercussions besides online scrutiny. When Nickelodeon and Schneider’s Bakery cut ties in 2018, The Creator took a $7 million payout to leave his job at the company. Instead of facing actual consequences, he benefitted from his verbal and sexual abuse which Nickelodeon allowed for years. When rewatching any of his programs, viewers no longer laugh or think kindly of the producer. Rather, people think to themselves about how the media allowed someone to perpetuate his repulsive desires and taint the memories of several child actors and audiences watching.