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‘Quiet On Set’ Exposes How Pornography Inspired Abuse Of Nickelodeon Child Actors

The docuseries reveals a dark underbelly of abuse, grooming, pornography, and sexual assault in popular kids’ TV shows of the ’90s and 2000s.


Investigation Discovery’s five-part docuseries “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” uncovered the abuse and toxicity that took place behind the scenes of some of the most beloved childhood shows for millennials. It also indirectly showcased the role pornography played in the sexual abuse and harassment of those on the set.

In the fifth episode of the docuseries, “All That” cast member Shane Lyons says he hopes this documentary “isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan moment of interest” because something must change. We have to take a serious look at some underlying issues we have as a society that contribute to this horrific epidemic.

Nickelodeon Nightmare

In the docuseries, staff and child actors alleged that they were routinely verbally and emotionally abused and retaliated against by Nickelodeon writer and producer Dan Schneider. Female staff said they were made to split their salaries and perform massages on Schneider.

Writers claimed they were forced to write pornographic “humor” for children to act out, pornography was played on the set, and pedophiles were grooming, sexually abusing, and soliciting sex from child actors.

Testimony from writers and child actors expounded on the fact that they were forced to do scenes that depicted crotch shots to the face, foot fetishism, using objects or food to depict sexual acts with a penis, using teen girls as the focus of sexual foreplay, and participating in degrading and humiliating acts. 

Where did Schneider and others get these types of ideas from? And why were they written for children? 

Predators on Set

Drake Bell, featured in the docuseries, came forward as the John Doe in the 2003 sexual assault case against then-dialogue coach Brian Peck. When asked to elaborate on the abuse that took place, Bell replied, “The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal. … Why don’t you think of the worst stuff that someone could do to somebody as a sexual assault, and then I’ll answer your question. I don’t know how else to put it.”

Peck pled guilty to 11 charges of “a lewd act upon a child; sodomy of a person under 16; attempted sodomy of a person under 16; sexual penetration by a foreign object; four counts of oral copulation of a person under 16; oral copulation by anesthesia or controlled substance; sending harmful matter; and using a minor for sex acts.”

This same Brian Peck working with children at Nickelodeon was pen pals with infamous boy-molester and murderer John Wayne Gacy, who was convicted in the 1970s of raping and murdering 33 boys and men. 

Pornography has long been studied as a script for sexual violence, noting a correlation between sexual offenders and common themes depicted in pornography. A study conducted on the most popular mainstream porn showed that 88 percent of scenes portrayed acts of physical violence or aggression and 49 percent portrayed verbal aggression. 

Another study found that one in eight titles of content from three leading porn sites constituted sexual violence and that “teen” was the most frequently occurring word in describing sexual violence.

Jason Michael Handy, another Nickelodeon staffer, pleaded no contest to two sex offender felonies, one for lewd acts on a minor and the other for being found in possession of sexually exploitative images of children. It is very common for law enforcement to find sexual predators in possession of CSAM (child sexual abuse material, aka child pornography) at the time of their arrest.

In 2019, a New York Times investigation uncovered an unfathomable proliferation of online CSAM, overwhelming police and crime centers with nearly 18.4 million reports being filed at the time. To put this in perspective, this is millions of children in their worst nightmare, being filmed, distributed, and traded for the gratification and monetary compensation of others, which meets the legal definition of sex trafficking.

Rampant Abuse and Pornography Use

National statistics from RAINN tell us that one in nine girls and one in 20 boys will experience sexual abuse or assault before the age of 18 and that children will often know their abusers. Though black women make up 7 percent of the U.S. population, they are disproportionally represented as survivors of rape, sexual assault, and trafficking across the U.S.

Moreover, while the victims of sexual exploitation are often black, the buyers of sex have been reported to be predominately affluent white males. The obvious sex, class, and racial imbalance is perpetually overlooked by leftists, who claim to care for women and minorities yet celebrate “sex work” and strip away Title IX protections for women’s private spaces.

Maybe others saw this documentary with different eyes and came to different conclusions, and there are plenty of conclusions to be made from this bombshell. But overall, the parallels between eyewitness testimonies and the current research on the harms of pornography cannot be ignored. 

Pornography has been scientifically proven to change users’ brains and adversely affect their attitudes and behaviors toward women, children, sex, and relationships. With nearly 92 percent of men and 60 percent of women willing to say they consume pornography, we have to take a strong look at how this illicit content is contributing to the lack of safety children have with adults and females have with males.

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