Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dan Schneider’s Assistant Talks Toxic Work

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Following the release of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, a Jack Ryan producer has shared her experience on working with the Nickelodeon hitmaker Dan Schneider.

Berg, who served as Schneider’s assistant for less than a year, called the Nickelodeon writer and producer a “fucking asshole” and “psychological tormentor” on Monday in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. Berg alleges Schneider brought on her “panic attacks” and led her to develop a “significant heart arrhythmia,” or irregular heartbeat.

 “I eventually had surgery to [mostly] correct the issue, but by that point I’d lost all of my 20s,” Berg wrote. “He stole those years from me.”

Berg, who went on to produced several episodes of Law & Order: Organized Crime, added in her statement that although the stressful experience didn’t affected her career, her personal life took a tailspin.

“I became a shut-in due to the fear of having a medical crisis away from home. I was unable to cultivate relationships or nurture friendships,” Berg wrote. “And to this day, I carry with me an anxiety disorder that fierce rears its head when faced with other manipulators. Fortunately, I’ve only twice been in bad situations in my career where this trauma was reignited.”

In Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV — Part One was released over the weekend — viewers see a different side to the slapstick, prank-filled comedies on Nickelodeon. The Investigation Discovery four-part docuseries, which airs Part Two Monday, exposes what former Nickelodeon employees describe as a “toxic” work environment where sexual innuendos were common in kids programming. Former colleagues have come forward about the pressure of working with Schneider, who began as an All That writer in 1993 and helmed hit shows, including The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, iCarly, Victorious, and others.

A spokesperson for Schneider told Rolling Stone that the former Nickelodeon showrunner worked with thousands of people over his 30-plus year career, and apologized to those who had a negative experience: “Dan knows he should have done better and feels awful about anyone who saw him at his worst, instead of his best.”

“Dan expected and asked a lot from his teams,” Schneider added. “They worked long hours and consistently made successful shows. In the challenges of production, Dan could get frustrated at times, and he understands why some employees found that intimidating and stressful.”

Berg wrote she was unaware of any physically inappropriate behavior during the time she worked with Schneider. Drake & Josh star Drake Bell alleges in the docuseries that dialogue coach Brian Peck sexually assaulted him at age 15. In 2004, Peck pleaded no contest to two charges of child sexual abuse, was sentenced to 16 months in jail, and was required to register as a sex offender.

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Berg punctuated her statement by sharing she doesn’t plan to watch Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV. Berg declined to provide a comment to Rolling Stone.

“I’ve no interest in reliving anything, nor do I want to be in a situation where I’d feel inclined to defend Dan in any way,” Berg wrote.

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