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Two female Nickelodeon writers say they had to split a salary while working for Dan Schneider

Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen, the only two female writers to work on season one of the Nickelodeon sitcom The Amanda Show, have alleged that they were made to split a single salary - something male writers were not asked to do.

They also allege that showrunner Dan Schneider, who denies having control over salaries, acted inappropriately in the workplace, showing them pornography and asking for massages.

Stratton and Kilgen make the accusations in the new documentary series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which is available to stream on Discovery+.

The Investigation Discovery documentary saw former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell come forward to speak about his alleged sexual abuse, which he says he suffered aged 15.

In the series, Bell alleged that he was a victim of abuse at the hands of Brian Peck, who worked as a dialogue coach on Nickelodeon’s All That and The Amanda Show.

Stratton and Kilgen say that The Amanda Show, which starred Amanda Bynes and ran from 1999 to 2002, was a toxic workplace under Schneider’s control.

“Working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship,” Ms Stratton says in the documentary.

Dan Schneider said it was ‘wrong’ to ask for massages on sets of Nickelodeon shows (YouTube)
Dan Schneider said it was ‘wrong’ to ask for massages on sets of Nickelodeon shows (YouTube)

Kilgen adds: “Dan was showing pornography on his computer screen. He’d ask me several times to massage him in the writers’ room and in the studio and he would say things sometimes like, ‘Can you please give me a massage, I’ll put one of your sketches in the show.’

“And he would always present it like a joke and he would be laughing while he said it. But you always felt like disagreeing with Dan or standing up for yourself could result in you getting fired.”

Another time, Schneider allegedly asked Stratton to act out being sodomized while telling a story about high school. Kilgen says Stratton declined but was pressured and eventually complied.

“It was probably the wrongest thing I’ve ever seen happen to a woman in a professional environment, ever,” Kilgen says.

In an interview posted to his YouTube channel, Schneider directly addressed Kilgen’s claims that he asked people to give him massages on set: “It was wrong. It was wrong that I ever put anyone in that position. It was wrong to do. I’d never do it today. I’m embarrassed that I did it then. I apologise to anybody that I ever put in that situation.”

After Kilgen learned that splitting her salary with Stratton was against WGA (Writers Guild of America) rules, she says Schneider confronted her and threatened that if she complained she would never work for Nickelodeon or Viacom again.

Schneider has denied Kilgen’s claims and said he had no control over salaries.

The Independent has contacted Nickelodeon for comment.

Schneider began his career as an actor, best known for playing Dennis Blunden in Head of the Class. From there, Schneider created the sketch-comedy show All That for Nickelodeon, going on to produce Kenan & Kel.

He is credited with launching the careers of stars including Ariana Grande, Amanda Bynes and Kenan Thompson.