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‘Quiet On the Set’ shows Creepy Side of Hollywood

Were you a Nickelodeon or Disney kid? If you answered Nickelodeon, have you been up on all of the allegations against the network? Specifically, the ones about Dan Schneider – the creator of the late 1990s and early 2000s hit shows like “iCarly,” “Drake & Josh,” “The Amanda Bynes Show,” “Victorious,” and “Zoey 101.” What seemed fun and quirky to most kids, is now being re-watched closely with a new set of eyes – allowing us to see innuendos and sexual jokes hidden over laugh tracks.

The newly released docu-series “Quiet on Set,” available to watch on platforms like Hulu and Max – covers stories about child stars and trauma while on the set of Nickelodeon’s beloved shows. Many people come forward about their experiences, specifically two former writers on “The Amanda Show” – Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen.

“Working with Dan was like being in an abusive relationship,” Stratton said.

In the documentary, Stratton explained a moment where Schneider challenged her to eat two pints of ice cream in 30 minutes for $300. Agreeing, because she had no money, Stratton said that upon completion she threw up and the money never came and when she called him out playfully, he screamed at her, despite “fostering a playful environment”.

Along with a dreadful work environment for the writers, the personal stories of the child actors are nauseating to imagine. From sexual assault charges to coercion, the trauma that stripped away their childhood is becoming widely discussed. Jeanette McCurdy, who played Sam Puckett on “iCarly,” released her book I’m Glad My Mom Died in 2022. In it she talked about some of her traumatic experiences. McCurdy mentioned someone she called “The Creator,” who’d force her to consume alcohol on set “Like the Victorious Kids,” and she’d been offered “hush money” in return for her silence. Speculation points to this creator being Schneider.

Allegations against Schneider were first seen by Amanda Bynes. In January 2014, on a secret Twitter account named “Ashley Banks,” Bynes shared the truth about Schneider and Nickelodeon. Details revealed her parents controlling her career, along with pictures of self-identification to verify her identity.

Amanda Bynes with Drake Bell and Josh Peck (Kevin Mazur/WireImage/The Independent )

“Can you imagine having an abortion at 13 because your boss impregnated you?”  Banks said.

A year after the alleged abortion, The pretzel guy interrupted the live filming of her show and offered a “free baby” to Bynes if she helped feed the audience; The shift in Bynes’s demeanor suggests mockery.

Fast forward to today, we watch the strength and genuine pain from “Drake & Josh” co-star Drake Bell, 37, as he comes out as the childhood actor who’d been sexually assaulted by a line reader on the “The Amanda Show” – Brian Peck. Bell was only 15 years old, explaining that he didn’t know how to react or get out. The abuse didn’t stop there, said Bell. Peck manipulated him and those around him so that he’d always be at his house. They reviewed the charges against Peck – from lewd acts upon a child to sodomy, to only get sentenced to 16 months in prison with the support of Hollywood. Despite the trauma he inflicted upon Bell, he got off easily and even landed a job on Disney Channel’s “Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” proceeding to work with children again as a registered sex offender.

Quiet on Set prompted other actors to come out about their stories, like Alexa Nikolas from “Zoey 101,” and see actors who defended these kids, like Jerry Trainor from “iCarly,” in a different light. Networks have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for everyone, but specifically to protect, not exploit and traumatize children.

Watch the docu-series for yourself and let me know what you think.

 

By Journey Powell, Freshman, Spelman College

Instagram: journeyaliah

 

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Written by Journey

Hiii, I’m Journey. I love to model and write poetry. My favorite movie series is Harry Potter.

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