Kenan Thompson Breaks Silence on Nickelodeon Allegations

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty
Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

Nickelodeon alum Kenan Thompson has weighed in on the disturbing allegations made in ID’s Quiet on Set docuseries, which spotlights accounts of sexism, racism, discrimination, and abuse at the kids’ network—much of which is tied to show creator Dan Schneider.

While appearing on The Tamron Hall Show this week, the Saturday Night Live star was asked for his thoughts on the explosive series, which is set to drop a bonus episode next month. “It’s a tough subject, you know,” Thompson said. “It’s tough for me because like, I can’t really speak on things that I never witnessed.”

Thompson started his career as a kid actor on Nickelodeon, starring in the first five seasons of the Schneider-created comedy variety show All That. He then starred in his own show on Nick, Kenan & Kel, alongside Kel Mitchell. The pair went on to star in the network’s hit movie Good Burger, which was just rebooted last year.

Although his ties to Nickelodeon run deep, Thompson said the alleged abuse discussed in Quiet on Set happened after he left. “All that negativity started happening outside of our tenure there.”

“Dan [Schneider] wasn’t really on Kenan & Kel like that. I mean, he got a ‘created by’ credit, but it was a different showrunner,” he added. “Our worlds weren’t really overlapping like that outside of All That necessarily.”

That said, Thompson made it clear that he supports the people in the docuseries who came forward. “I wasn’t really aware of a lot of it but my heart goes out to anybody that’s been victimized or their families,” he told Hall. “I think it’s a good thing that the doc is out and it’s putting things on display, you know, stories that need to be told, for accountability’s sake.”

“It’s definitely tough to watch because I have fond memories of that place and I have fond memories of my costars,” he continued. “So to hear that they’ve gone through terrible things like that, it’s really tough.”

Female Writers Who Worked For Dan Schneider Recount Humiliation, Discrimination

As Hall shared Nickelodeon’s statement saying that the network will “investigate all of the [Quiet On Set] allegations,” Thompson interjected, saying, “Investigate more.”

“It’s supposed to be a safe space,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a safe place for kids, and to hear all about that is—how dare you?”

Thompson’s comments on the documentary are a welcome break of silence from some of Nickelodeon’s top stars. All That alum Leon Frierson, who appeared in Quiet On Set, told The Daily Beast, “I wish other stars would come out and just at least support the people that do have claims.”

“Other stars that don’t say anything, I think that bothers me more,” Frierson continued, when asked about people who have made light of the allegations. “I don’t expect them to say anything bad about Nickelodeon or their partners or anything like that, [but] it would be nice to hear at least words of support.”

How Dan Schneider Made Nickelodeon Into a ‘House of Horrors’

During his interview on The Tamron Hall Show, Thompson also spoke briefly about former Nick star Amanda Bynes, whom he came to know during their overlapping time at Nickelodeon. In an excerpt read aloud by Hall from his recent memoir, When I Was Your Age: Life Lessons, Funny Stories & Questionable Parenting Advice from a Professional Clown, Thompson writes that Bynes “was like all of our little sister, and we were all very protective of her.”

“Unfortunately, some leeches sent her down a dark path,” the excerpt continues. “When she went left for a little while, we were all sad. I cared about her, and I still do. She’s good people.”

Thompson told Hall that he hadn’t spoken to Bynes since she was “really, really young,” but said he was “rooting for her from afar.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.