Kenan Thompson at New York Comic-Con in 2023

Kenan Thompson Has Seen ‘Quiet on Set,’ and He Has a Message for Nickelodeon

Following the release of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, more former child stars from Nickelodeon’s hey-day are speaking out—including Kenan Thompson, whose reaction is exactly what you want to hear from one of our most prolific entertainers.

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Before he became an SNL star, Thompson was a breakout star on Nickelodeon’s All That, where he often appeared in sketches with Kel Mitchell. The two went on to star in their own show, Kenan and Kel, and even headlined a movie, Good Burger, based on their popular recurring sketch. (They also reunited last year for a sequel.) While he’s better known to audiences now as an SNL mainstay, Thompson will always be considered Nickelodeon royalty by millennials, many of whom have been eager to hear his thoughts on Quiet on Set, which revealed numerous allegations regarding the culture behind the scenes at the kids TV network.

Thompson appeared on Tamron Hall’s talk show, where he was asked to share his opinion on the four-part docuseries, as well as any experiences he had with Dan Schneider—the creator of multiple Nickelodeon series is criticized extensively in the documentary for creating a toxic workplace rife with misogynistic harassment and sexualizing children by having them perform suggestive scenes. Ultimately, Thompson says he was never victimized, nor did he witness any of the behavior described in the documentary, but he supports the documentary and everyone who spoke out. He also has a message for Nickelodeon:

It’s tough. It’s a tough subject, you know? It’s tough for me because I can’t really speak on things that I never witnessed, you know what I’m saying? Because all these things happened after I left, basically. Dan wasn’t really on Kenan & Kel like that. I mean, he got a ‘created by’ credit, but it was a different showrunner, so our worlds wasn’t really overly overlapping like that outside of All That, necessarily. And then all of that negativity kinda started happening outside of our tenure there. So I wasn’t really aware of a lot of it.

My heart goes out to anybody that’s been victimized, or their families. I think it’s a good thing that the doc is out and it’s putting things on display, stories that need to be told for accountability’s sake. But it’s definitely tough to watch because I have fond memories of that place and I have fond memories of my co-stars and stuff like that. So to hear that they’ve gone through terrible things like that is really tough… Investigate more. It’s supposed to be a safe place for kids. And to hear all about that is just like, ‘How dare you?’

It sounds like Thompson feels a little betrayed by the network, which, as he notes, is “supposed to be a safe place for kids.” As for Nickelodeon, Thompson says the network needs to “investigate more.” It’s clear from the series and the stories shared by former Nickelodeon stars that these allegations are only a fraction of the story.

(featured image: Bryan Bedder, Getty Images for ReedPop)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.