Ariana Grande poses at the 96th Academy Awards
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Ariana Grande Addresses ‘Quiet on Set,’ Says Actors Were Told Innuendo Was ‘Cool’

Ariana Grande has broken her silence on the docuseries Quiet on Set, saying that during her time at Nickelodeon, the network encouraged minor actors to participate in inappropriate innuendoes on the shows.

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Quiet on Set launched an investigation into Nickelodeon, detailing how the children’s network employed predators and fostered what many see to be an unsafe environment for child actors and women. Among the many allegations levied at Nickelodeon and Dan Schneider, who created numerous shows for the network, was the accusation that the shows intentionally included adult jokes and inappropriate innuendos, which the child actors were tricked or pressured into acting out. Schneider’s representative denied that the shows ever sexualized children or were inappropriate, claiming the issue was that “adults project their adult minds onto kids’ shows.”

However, Grande has suggested that the network was aware of the inappropriate jokes. While Grande is now best known for her music career, which earned her two Grammy Awards, and for her upcoming role in Wicked, she got her start on Nickelodeon. As a teenager, she was cast on Victorious and later starred in the Victorious and iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat with Jennette McCurdy. Many who have revisited Victorious in recent years have been shocked by the sheer number of inappropriate jokes and moments, such as an apparent foot fetish and other bizarre scenes. Now, Grande is speaking out about her experience on the network.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence on Quiet on Set

Recently, Ariana Grande appeared on the podcast Popcrushed and addressed Quiet on Set for the first time. She explained that she had been “reprocessing” her experience on Nickelodeon following the docuseries. At the time, she didn’t think much of the inappropriate scenes. However, looking back on some clips, she stated, “I’m like, ‘Damn, really? Oh s**t.’ I think about if I had a daughter.” While she may not have realized the extent of the innuendos at the time, she claimed there was some discussion and acknowledgment of the content.

According to Grande, she and her fellow actors were told that innuendos were “cool” and that their shows were unique because they “pushed the envelope” with their humor. She stated, “I think that was something that we were convinced was the cool thing about us. We pushed the envelope with our humor, and the innuendos were like … We were told and convinced that it was the cool differentiation.”

The actress also said the young actors’ desire to elicit laughter were taken advantage of. Young performers were misled into believing they were “doing something great” if they got “a laugh from video village,” and, thus, were willing to do whatever it took to keep getting those laughs.

Grande also reiterated that the scripts and all the scenes went through “so many adults,” yet it appears no one ever spoke out about the inappropriate jokes—demonstrating that the problem wasn’t just with one writer or show, but a wider issue with Nickelodeon’s environment and attitude as a whole. Her statement also directly challenges Schneider’s representative’s narrative by suggesting that the inappropriate jokes were intentional and that the network potentially even prided itself on pushing the envelope in children’s TV.

Grande also raises awareness of how easy it is for children to be taken advantage of, given their desire to please and feel like they’re succeeding, making it vital that child actors understand their rights and worth and that generating laughter shouldn’t come at the cost of their comfort.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.