Dan Schneider, the creator of popular Nickelodeon shows such as Drake & Josh, iCarly, Victorious and Zoey 101, has faced allegations from viewers over the years of having an inappropriate foot fetish, and having young stars of his shows engage in scenes that involved feet.
Now, in a new interview with the New York Times, Schneider has responded to allegations and explained his 2018 Nickelodeon exit, which happened amid reports of workplace abuse.
Those on social media and several YouTubers have compiled clips of Schneider’s shows over the years, showing actors in numerous foot-related scenes. There has also been speculation regarding foot-related tweets—such as a 2013 tweet from the Sam and Cat Twitter account that asks fans to write on the bottom of their feet so the account could retweet them.
Schneider said that the allegations are “ridiculous” and told the publication that children find feet “goofy and funny.”
“The comedy was totally innocent,” he said.
Before Schneider’s Nickelodeon departure, Viacom reportedly investigated accusations of workplace abuse, finding that many of his co-workers found him verbally abusive.
Arthur Gradstein, who produced and wrote alongside Schneider on four shows, said that although he “will always be grateful to Dan for taking a chance on me as a rash young writer fresh out of college,” he was difficult to work with.
“But he was also unreasonably demanding, controlling, belittling and vindictive,” Gradstein said, “with a wilful disregard for boundaries or workplace appropriateness.”
Schneider shared that he’s sure he’s more “gentle at communicating today,” adding that he had “high standards” for his shows.
“I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I’d mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors,” he said.