Children’s TV exec files lawsuit over documentary

Former Nickelodeon producer and writer Dan Schneider has filed a defamation legal case against the producers of a TV documentary series, claiming it has “irreparably harmed” his reputation.

The five-part docuseries, released in March, alleged years of abuse and inappropriate behaviour at shows including iCarly and Drake & Josh.

Schneider said Quiet On Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV falsely implied he “sexually abused the children who worked on his television shows”.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

The Press Association said the documents name producers Maxine Productions, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Brothers Discovery as defendants.

The BBC has contacted the defendants for comment.

Nickelodeon, which is not involved in the case, told the Associated Press in a statement on the series that it cannot “corroborate or negate” allegations from decades ago, but it investigates all formal complaints and has rigorous protocols for working minors.

“Our highest priorities are the wellbeing and best interests not just of our employees, casts and crew, but of all children and we have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

The docuseries, which was originally broadcast on US streaming platform Max, includes several allegations of Mr Schneider making inappropriate and sexual jokes on-set.

Schneider created hit shows including iCarly, Victorious, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101 and The Amanda Show.

He apologised in March for his “embarrassing” on-set behaviour at the children’s channel and left it in 2018 after an investigation found that he was verbally abusive to staff members.

The court documents said that although two people who worked on Nickelodeon shows were later convicted of sexual offences, 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 case said.

“Schneider never sexually abused a child, nor has he been charged or convicted with sexually abusing a child.

“The trailer and Quiet On Set’s statements and implications to the contrary are both false and made with reckless and malicious disregard for the truth.”

Schneider told the Press Association: “Recently the docuseries Quiet On Set highlighted mistakes I made and poor judgement I exhibited during my time at Nickelodeon, most of which happened decades ago during my early career as a producer.

“There is no doubt that I was sometimes a bad leader.

“I am sincerely apologetic and regretful for that behaviour, 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.”

(BBC News)

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