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The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

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Kisha Williams / Elite Realty

Quiet on Set: The unveiling of horrors

Quiet+on+Set%3A+The+unveiling+of+horrors
Audrey Goetz

Most students at Charter can find common ground when it comes to which shows made up their childhoods, some even reviving their love for these shows during Spirit Week by dressing up as various characters. With this, it is clear that Victorious, Sam and Cat, Drake & Josh, and iCarly all had a significant impact on this generation. Networks, such as Nickelodeon, produced success after success for what felt like decades. Child actors, such as Amanda Bynes, Drake Bell, Ariana Grande, and Jeanette McCurdy, are just among the many that painted working for Nickelodeon as a dream for all kids– but not everything was as perfect as it seemed. 

The sad truth revealed itself around early April and broke the hearts of millions globally. This was done with one singular project that has been in the making for years. HBO Max dropped the documentary, Quiet on Set, which primarily focused on the abuse of child actors during Nickelodeon’s prime. Writers, executive producers and the child actors themselves from All That, The Amanda Bynes Show, and Drake & Josh all came together to sit down and tell their truths about the despicable acts done by Dan Schneider, Brian Peck and Nickelodeon as a whole.

For example, in the writers room of The Amanda Show, there were only two female writers, Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen. In the docuseries, these two women told their stories, detail by detail. They described how Schneider degraded women constantly with comments about how women didn’t have the same capabilities as men. For example, one comment being that, “women can’t write funny.” They explained how “he challenged [them] to name a funny female writer and did this in front of the writers room.” Kilgen, when recalling the events of those insults directed at her and Stratton, had a face of distress and sadness. 

Dan Schneider doesn’t just stop at degrading his fellow writers, but goes on to embarrass his cast members. On all of his successful shows, there is a common thread tying them together, which is the very uncomfortable and eyebrow raising jokes they all have, specifically regarding the younger girls and feet. For example, in Victorious, there are multiple segments of the characters with close ups on their feet, and even Cat, Ariana Grande’s character, attempting to suck her own toes. 

Flashback to one of the first successes of Schneider’s, these weird jokes were the least of the major problems at hand. For example, while on set for All That, it is clear that the young children were constantly forced to take the insane workload and toxicity from Dan Schneider himself; and, not only was it just a toxic environment, but one that also discriminated against skin color. 

Christopher Hearne, child actor for All That, recalls on Quiet on Set the time he felt ashamed of his skin color. To set the scene, there was a “funny” sketch that was all about the youngest rapper. His name was Lil Fetus, and for this, he had to be fitted for a skin-tight bodysuit which already raised eyebrows for outfit choice. The bodysuit then had to match his skin color, but when discussing with other crew members, Hearne recalls the moment when one of them said, “the skin tone should be charcoal.” 

With racism and sexism already being displayed on the sets of Nickelodeon’s golden shows, the most concerning and eye-widening situation is still yet to be discussed: the horrifying truth surrounding Brian Peck and Drake Bell. Drake Bell, best known for his role in Drake & Josh, faced horrors that would last a lifetime during his years on the big screen. Drake Bell comments on the assault with, “Why don’t you think of the worst stuff someone can do to someone as sexual assault, and that will answer your question.” 

Even with the following arrest of Brian Peck in 2003, there were still big names defending the assault, such as James Marsden and Rider Strong. Flash forward to today, Peck is still residing in Hollywood and working for the entertainment industry. Despite the unspeakable acts he’d done, he is still allowed to work alongside children. 

One question remains: How did this documentary come to life? With many passionate filmmakers, journalists, and film crew, the impossible was made possible through an immense amount of research, legal work, and making sure the facts were true and accurate. But, for all participants involved, it was the determination of making sure those horrible acts never happen again.

It is the idea that we want to make sure that 20 years down the line, there isn’t going to be another Quiet on Set about children.

— Kate Taylor

Journalist Kate Taylor, who made appearances on Quiet on Set and worked alongside film makers from Maxine Productions, comments on what really drove them to fighting through the discouragement and negative background noises. “It is the idea that we want to make sure that 20 years down the line, there isn’t going to be another Quiet on Set about children.”  Taylor elaborates on the idea that, commonly, these children are essentially the “breadwinners” of the family, and that with that, there aren’t many regulations put in place to protect them. 

After seeing the documentary’s millions of viewers, Kate Taylor recalls her emotions while being able to say she was part of such a powerful and passionate project. “It is an empowering experience and a helpful reminder that people do care about creating change and justice.” This documentary alone has sparked a change in people’s minds to identify the patterns of abuse and encourage victims to share their stories. 

With only five episodes to be able to contribute to so much change and the revealing of more stories, there are many questions on what will happen now? Will there be more regulations on set with child actors? Will children, in general, be more protected now? With this upcoming generation of children, it is up to us and the older generations to implement change in the film industry and to protect children from abuse, no matter the circumstances.

Kisha Williams / Elite Realty
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About the Contributors
Julianna Perez
Julianna Perez, Clubs Editor
Hi! My name is Julianna Perez and I'm currently the Clubs Editor for the CHAT Newspaper. I'm a sophomore and this is my second year in the newspaper. I love to write and pursuing journalism is my dream, so I can't wait to continue writing again this year! Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have feedback or questions :)
Audrey Goetz
Audrey Goetz, Graphics Staff
Hello there. My name is Audrey Goetz. I am currently a sophomore and this is my first year working on the CHAT. I am a member of the graphics team, so I get to do cool stuff with Photoshop, as well as other things. While in class I like to make posters and edit photos to make them more visually appealing, as well as working on video editing. In my free time, I like to make digital drawings, work on stories I’ve made, learn about something completely unnecessary, but somehow really interesting, and relax. If you would like to contact me, you can email me at [email protected].

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