For 20 years, Schneider helmed kids’ shows that continue to inform the millennial and Gen-Z pop culture zeitgeist: “All That, “The Amanda Show,” “Drake & Josh,” “Zoey 101,” “Victorious” and the aforementioned “iCarly.” After he departed from Nickelodeon in 2018, Schneider retreated from the public eye and the television industry until June 30, when he gave his first major interview to the New York Times.
In the article, Schneider is questioned point-blank about the online video compilations and TV show screenshots people have used as evidence to question the appropriateness of his behavior with child actors, particularly when it came to showing their feet.
“Ridiculous,” he told the Times, explaining that kids simply find feet funny and that it was not intended to sexualize the young actors. A review of Schneider by Nickelodeon’s parent company, ViacomCBS, confirmed there was never any sexual misconduct.
“The comedy was totally innocent,” Schneider told the Times.
However, the Times notes that ViacomCBS’ investigation did find a pattern of verbal abuse. Schneider declined to comment on the investigation, but said that if he was seen as “difficult,” it’s because he holds “high standards.”
According to the Times, interviews from dozens of employees described Schneider as “a controlling, difficult showrunner, prone to tantrums and angry emails — a man with a delicate ego who made some staff members feel as though they were always walking on eggshells,” the Times article reads. “Several said they felt uncomfortable when he frequently asked an employee from the costume department for shoulder and neck massages, or texted child actors outside of work hours.”
Other allegations detailed in the article included his workaholic nature, his expectation that associates work 16 to 20-hour days and three former colleagues attesting to staff members pushing Schneider in a roller chair so he could work moving from room to room. Nickelodeon did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for further comment.
“I never interacted with actors in any way, texting or otherwise, that should make anyone uncomfortable,” Schneider said to the Times.
“Over the years, I’ve grown and matured as a producer and leader,” he later added. “I’m sure I’m better and more gentle at communicating today.”
As Schneider moves beyond his Nickelodeon years, he told the Times that he is working on new shows, including a pilot he wrote and sold to another network.