The Controversy and Allegations Surrounding ‘iCarly’ Creator, Dan Schneider, Explained
From the 1990s to the early 2000s, Dan Schneider was one of the biggest names in children’s TV. He first began working for Nickelodeon in 1994, serving as a producer, writer, and guest star for All That and Kenan and Kel. Schneider worked his way up fast, and by 1999, had created and debuted his own Nickelodeon hit TV series, The Amanda Bynes Show. For the next (nearly) two decades, he was the creator behind many of Nickelodeon’s most popular TV shows.
Among Schneider’s most popular works are iCarly, Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, Victorious, Sam & Cat, and Henry Danger. For many of us Millennials and Gen-Zers, Schneider’s shows made up a significant portion of our childhood. With hit show after hit show and a slew of Emmy and BAFTA nominations for Best Children’s Program, Schneider seemed an unstoppable force in the industry. That’s why it was so surprising, in 2018, when Nickelodeon abruptly announced they were cutting ties with Schneider.
The announcement, in March of that year, revealed that Nickelodeon wasn’t extending its production deal with Schneider. They subsequently did not renew his show, Game Shakers, for a fourth season and found a new showrunner to replace him for the 5th season of Henry Danger. Of course, Nickelodeon remained largely mum on the reason behind the departure, but it wasn’t long before troubling allegations came out.
Schneider departs Nickelodeon among abusive behavior allegations
Despite Nickelodeon’s attempts to paint the departure as a mutual agreement, reports quickly began to surface in 2018 that Schneider had complaints of abusive behavior filed against him. These allegations included concerns over his notorious temper, as well as suspicions over his interactions with minor actors and actresses. However, for years, both Nickelodeon and Schneider remained quiet, leaving these allegations up to speculation. This led to some internet sleuthing and fans digging up quite a lot of their own evidence against Schneider.
Viewers quickly noticed that minor female actresses in Schneider’s shows were frequently in scenes involving their bare feet—and that Schneider even posted photos of their feet on social media at the time—leading them to question if he had a foot fetish (Schneider, for his part, has called this “ridiculous”). This was in addition to instances of sexual innuendo in his shows, involving minor actresses, that went over younger audiences’ heads. Fans also dug up some concerning behind-the-scenes footage, including one photo of Schneider sitting in a hot tub with a young Amanda Bynes. Other footage shows him grabbing, hugging, or putting his arm around his young actresses—footage in which the young actresses appeared to be uncomfortable.
Of course, none of these things point to any explicit wrongdoing on Schneider’s part. However, most can agree that sexualizing minors, in even the most subtle ways, on television or social media is unacceptable, as is an adult man seemingly not understanding or respecting personal space or professional boundaries with minor children.
Schneider addresses allegations and attempts “comeback”
In June of 2021, Schneider broke his silence for the first time since departing Nickelodeon and addressed the allegations against him. In an interview with the New York Times, it seemed that he was hoping to make a comeback, as he indicated he was working on a pilot.
It’s important to note that the allegations against Schneider were investigated by ViaComCBS and that the investigation didn’t find any evidence of sexual misconduct. However, some interviewees for the investigation did reiterate some questionable behavior from Schneider, such as him being verbally abusive, prone to tantrums, known to request massages, and having a habit of texting minor actors and actresses outside of work hours. Schneider himself denied all the claims of inappropriate behavior, and laughed off the foot fetish and sexual innuendo allegations, stating it was all harmless comedy. He claimed social media was merely amplifying a lie.
Schneider also still denies that the allegations had anything to do with his departure from Nickelodeon. He claimed it was simply the result of exhaustion and his need to refocus on things that fell by the wayside during the height of his career.
Jennette McCurdy’s memoir and mentions of “The Creator”
Schneider is once more making the rounds on social media, however, as Jennette McCurdy, an actress who starred in Schneider-created shows as a minor, is preparing to release her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, on August 9th, 2022. Excerpts released ahead of time have painted a troubling picture of an alleged dark side of Nickelodeon, as McCurdy relates the indignities and humiliations she suffered at the hands of those in the industry. In particular, she points to someone she refers to as “The Creator” during her time on iCarly and Sam & Cat. Since Schneider was the creator of both shows, many naturally suspect he is who she is referring to.
Her memoir includes very troubling accounts of The Creator as an intimidating figure who was emotionally abusive. He tried to compare her to the stars of his other shows, pressured her into drinking alcohol, and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable. Most damning, though, is McCurdy’s allegation that Nickelodeon offered to pay her $300,000 in return for her never speaking publicly of her experiences, particularly with The Creator.
Of course, the biggest question here is, if nothing happened with Schneider, as both he and Nickelodeon claim, then why offer someone $300,000 to keep quiet about it? Schneider’s strange and suspicious history with Nickelodeon, combined with McCurdy’s new claims, certainly makes us wonder what else Nickelodeon is trying to hide.
(featured image: Getty Images/Kevin Winter)
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