Did Dan Schneider’s foot fetish lead him to abuse Nickelodeon’s young stars?
There’s a certain “ick” factor when it comes to Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider. A simple Google search can bring up unsettling footage & photos of the television ex-showrunner’s interactions with early 2000s teen actors like Ariana Grande & Miranda Cosgrove.
Even more disturbing are the old skits (conjured up by Schnieder himself) from Nickelodeon’s Victorious of Ariana Grande trying to put her entire toe in her mouth. Schneider’s not so discrete foot fetish led to a ViacomCBS investigation of potential sexual assault amongst teenage actors who worked with Schneider.
The investigation occurred at the height of the #MeToo movement with reports about Schnieder’s behavior with his actors & staff. Did Dan Schneider’s foot fetish lead him to abuse Nickelodeon’s young stars?
Feet & tweets give us the creeps
In the early 1990s, Schneider helped create a Nickelodeon SNL-styled sketch comedy series for children. The comedy style is visibly seen in shows like All That, The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, Victorious, and iCarly.
In March of 2018, Nickelodeon cut ties with Dan Schneider due to alleged sexual abuse accusations. Schnieder addressed his exit from the network, just as Paramount Plus has released a reboot of his former show, iCarly. He claimed all his interactions with teenage actors and skits were innocent.
Although, according to the investigation, many of his employees found him verbally abusive, unpredictable, and abrasive. There was some speculation about tweets he posted showing the feet of some of the young actresses he worked with.
Deadline reported that Dan Schneider would share photos of the young actresses’ toes on his social media in the form of a quiz. His fascination with young teenage feet wasn’t a secret. There are also plenty of videos of Schneider videotaping his underage actors hanging out on set. Their body language changes as soon as Schneider approaches, becoming tense and uncomfortable in these videos.
Walking on eggshells
Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider retreated from the public eye and the television industry until June 30th, when he gave his first major interview to the New York Times.
When the New York Times asked Schneider about his social media uploads of underage actors’ feet, he responded, “he was well aware of the postings, which he described as ‘ridiculous.’” He said, “Kids find feet goofy and funny and there was no effort to sexualize his young star.”
When Nickelodeon decided to investigate his alleged abusive behavior, they issued reports that found no evidence of sexual misconduct by Schneider but did find evidence of verbal misconduct.
Arthur Gradstein, a writer & producer who worked with Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider, said that “. . . he was also unreasonably demanding, controlling, belittling and vindictive . . . with a willful disregard for boundaries or workplace appropriateness.”
Schneider was often described as a controlling, difficult showrunner, prone to tantrums & angry emails. In addition, he was known around the network as a man with a delicate ego who made some staff members feel as though they were always walking on eggshells.
Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider exits kids network
As a result of this investigation, Nickelodeon went with the executive decision to let Schneider go. The departure details are hazy, but Schneider has mentioned that his exit from Nickelodeon was a mutual departure. However, there’s speculation that Nickelodeon encouraged him to back out of his formal contract for a $7 million payoff. Nickelodeon has yet to make further statements.
Schneider’s foot fetish may be unnerving and downright creepy. Still, as of now, there has been no official evidence of any sexual abuse perpetrated by Nickelodeon’s old showrunner.
Although, it may be reason enough to hold suspicion in your back pocket. Schneider reportedly holds no grudges against Nickelodeon over his exit and is currently working on a new pilot aimed at adult audiences.