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The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

The student news site of Houston Community College

The Egalitarian

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What the ‘Quiet On Set’ docuseries proves

What the Quiet On Set docuseries proves

The documentary “Quiet on Set” by HBO Max, which debuted on March 17, 2024, tells a series of stories of former child actors and staff members about their experiences working for Nickelodeon in the entertainment industry. The pressures and exploitation of child actors, the impact of fame at a young age, the imbalance of work and school, and even cases of abuse and misconduct were topics they covered. They describe experiences regarding what it was like to work for Dan Schneider, the man who created a lot of popular shows for the network, in particular.

Schneider, 58, is known for numerous Nickelodeon hits, including “All That,” “iCarly,” “Victorious,” “Drake & Josh,” “The Amanda Show,” “Zoey 101″ and “Kenan and Kel.” Over the years, he has faced various allegations ranging from creating a toxic work environment, verbal abuse, and favoritism, to instances of writing inappropriate jokes in his shows and acting inappropriately towards his female stars on his shows. Keep in mind that these are allegations, and Schneider has not been formally charged with any crimes related to these claims.

After two days of the documentary’s release, Dan Schnieder released a YouTube video titled, “Dan Schnieder talks about Quiet on Set”. The format of the video is supposed to be an interview with Schnieder, telling his side of the story and answering a few questions based on what was being alleged in the documentary. However, the person interviewing him was a former actor, named Bobbie Bowman, from one of Schneider’s popular shows “iCarly”.

Throughout the video, he defends himself saying that his actions were inexcusable, it “shouldn’t have happened”, and that it wouldn’t happen again today. Bowman then asks him a question to address to the people who said they had bad experiences with him, and Schneider says, “I let the pressure get to me, which a good boss should never, ever do.”

He also makes a big claim that he’s more than happy to “cut” any bad or inappropriate jokes that upset people today because he says the last thing he wants is to put any content in the show that’s going to upset his audience. Adding to that, he says that everything had to get approved by executives, down to the writing, wardrobe, etc.

Bowman asks him to elaborate on his handling of the situation whenever a kid on set was uncomfortable with a scene, and his response was that they didn’t have to do it if they said they were not comfortable. “If I would have known at the time, I would have changed it on the spot.”

While everything that was presented in the documentary were allegations, it doesn’t help his case when former actors and actresses and former employees can recall similar stories or have similar experiences about working with Schneider. He says in his video that he wishes he could go back and do things differently, that if he would have known he would have done something about it, but there was no true accountability to his actions.

He shows regret and shame, but the damage is already done. Some actors have said they have voiced their hesitation in doing certain scenes and stunts and they were ignored because it’s “funny”. Like the saying goes, the show must go on. If Scheider claims he wanted to call everyone and apologize, that should have been done a long time ago. He should have done what he said during his time in the network.

This doesn’t entirely fall on Dan Schneider, Nickelodeon also had responsibility for the things that happened in their studios. After the docuseries, they put out a statement saying that they take these matters seriously and they make sure to investigate these cases thoroughly to create a safe environment for everyone. Their statement feels empty because the weight of these situations is far greater than what they have to say. Many children were exploited, traumatized, ignored, abused, all under the network’s watch. Reports were filed, but action was never taken on time.

What the docuseries proves is that people in high positions, especially in the entertainment industry, hold a lot of power. They can either use that power for good or for bad. They never truly take full accountability for their actions and how they contributed to harming these kids directly or indirectly. There were a lot of adults who had the power to put a stop to these situations, to take their concerns seriously from both the kids and the parents, and to protect them above all. Schneider might not have done any criminal activity, but he had the responsibility to make sure every kid on his set was protected, seen, and heard. Nickelodeon had the responsibility to make sure everyone was protected, seen, and heard. I hope networks today take action into making sure their work environments are safe for these kids and prevent these things from happening again.

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