'Amanda Show' child star Raquel Lee Bolleau says she was 'infuriated' when Amanda Bynes spit in her face for a sketch

Amanda Bynes (Everett Collection)
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The new ID documentary series “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” takes a deep dive into the working conditions of both child actors and adult staff on Nickelodeon in the 1990s and 2000s.

The original episodes, which aired in March, tracked the influence producer Dan Schneider had on shaping Nickelodeon, creating shows and launching the careers of actors who would become major stars, like Amanda Bynes and Drake Bell.

In the documentary, some of the writers, former child stars and other staffers who worked with Schneider allege the atmosphere behind the scenes was toxic.

Bell — who starred in “Drake and Josh” as well as “All That” — also revealed that he was sexually abused by an acting coach who was employed by the network. The coach, Brian Peck, was convicted in Bell’s case in 2004.

Following the initial episodes’ release, the public reaction was so strong that ID aired a follow-up episode on April 7.

Schneider does not appear in the initial documentary, but he has consistently denied allegations of misconduct.

Here’s what to know about the docuseries, which aired March 17-18 with a follow-up episode on April 7.

Dan Schneider's response to 'Quiet on Set'

Following the release of the docuseries on March 18, a spokesperson for Schneider said in a statement that the showrunner knows he “should have done better.”

“They worked long hours and consistently made successful shows. In the challenges of production, Dan (Schneider) could get frustrated at times, and he understands why some employees found that intimidating and stressful,” the statement reads, citing “many” former colleagues who “still tell him how much they enjoyed and appreciated working on his shows.

“But he also knows some people did not have a positive experience, and he is truly sorry for that. Dan (Schneider) knows he should have done better and feels awful about anyone who saw him at his worst, instead of his best,” the statement reads.

“The fact is many of the kids on these shows are put in the untenable position of becoming the breadwinner for their family and the pressure that comes along with that,” the statement continues. “Add on top of that the difficulties of growing up and having to do so under the spotlight while working a demanding job, all as a child. Nobody understood that pressure better than Dan (Schneider) and that’s why he was their biggest champion.”

“Dan (Schneider) has said himself that he was a tough boss to work for and if he could do things over again he would act differently,” the statement concludes. “But let’s be clear, when Dan departed Nickelodeon a full investigation was done and again, what was found is that he was a challenging, tough, and at times inappropriate and demanding person to work for and with, nothing else.”

The following day, March 19, Schneider would issue a video response to the ID docuseries.

In an interview with former “iCarly” cast member BooG!e (born Bobby Bowman), Schneider revealed he watched “Quiet on Set” and “could see the hurt in some people’s eyes and it made me feel awful and regretful and sorry.”

“I wish I could go back ... and just do a better job and never ever feel like it was OK to be an a--hole to anyone, ever,” he said. “I’d just be nicer as often as possible and listen more to the people on my team and I would do everything that I could to make sure that everyone had a good experience.”

Nickelodeon announced it was parting ways with Schneider in 2018.

In a statement to TODAY.com on March 13, a spokesperson for the network said it had "adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

“Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct,” the network said.

The network also said its highest priorities were the “well-being and best interests not just of our employees, casts and crew, but of all children.”

Schneider's rise to Nickelodeon and 'All That'

The first part of the documentary begins by tracking how Schneider came to be involved with Nickelodeon.

Following a stint as an actor, Schneider’s first writing job was for “Head of the Class.” Nickelodeon tapped Schneider to write the pilot for the kids-centric sketch show “All That,” which ran from 1994 to 2005.

At the beginning of the “All That” era, Schneider “kept things pretty light” on set, former Nickelodeon director Virgil L. Fabian says, as footage of behind-the-scenes parties plays.

Interviews with former stars, however, suggested there was an undercurrent of pressure exerted on child stars. “It was in our best interest to go with the flow,” former "All That" cast member Leon Frierson says.

The second episode of the documentary spotlights more “All That” voices like Giovonnie Samuels, Bryan Hearne and Kyle Sullivan describing their experiences.

Sullivan calls the set “dysfunctional ... you could get away with more, like going overtime in ways that were pushing the envelope.”

The cast members say certain scenes were grueling, like one that involved pouring sugar and coffee into their mouths. “It was gross, it was weird,” Sullivan says. “The show was full of these uncomfortable sketches. I think Dan got a kick out of walking the line with that.”

Two cast members, Hearne and Samuels, describe the racial dynamics on set. Samuels says she was like the “token Black girl." Hearne says Schneider had a “closer relationship with some of the white kids,” and that he didn’t feel close to him “at all.”

Hearne, who is Black, recalls a moment that brought him to tears on set. At the time, he was being fitted for a costume for “Lil Fetus," a sketch character meant to be the world’s youngest rapper.

“Someone said the skin tone should be charcoal. I started to get teary-eyed. That was a moment when I felt, ‘I could go get my mom about this.’ But also, I know my mom and I know she would’ve rose hell,” Hearne says.

Tracy Brown, Hearne’s mom, says she tried to tell Hearne’s agent about the show’s conditions.

“She was like, ‘Tracy, come on. Do it for Bryan. Shut up,'" Brown says in the documentary. "But I was like, ‘Things are weird here.’”

The cast members say the “On Air Dares” segments of the show, seemingly modeled off the show “Fear Factor,” were “traumatic.”

The segments involved the show's cast sitting in vats of fish or worms. In one clip, a cast member has a scorpion placed in his mouth.

Hearne, at one point, recalls being covered in peanut butter, which was then licked off by dogs. “It was really uncomfortable. I didn’t like that,” he says.

“The thing that was most uncomfortable was having to watch your fellow cast mates be essentially tortured,” Hearne says.

Hearne was eventually let go from the show. In her interview, Brown says she was relieved her son left a “house of horrors.”

Raquel Lee Bolleau recounts the time Amanda Bynes spit in her face for a sketch

In the follow-up episode of the docuseries, former “Amanda Show” actor Raquel Lee Bolleau recounted how a sketch had left her as a child “infuriated.”

She explained the sketch, titled “The Literals,” starred Bynes and herself.

“And every time I said, ‘Spit it out,’ she would spit what was in her mouth — whether it was the water or whatever — like, directly in my face,” she said, adding that she did “not find it funny.”

“The third time, I was, like, infuriated,” she recalled. “I was so mad that the director hurried and put me to the side of the set and was like, ‘Listen, Raquel, breathe in, breathe out. She’s the star of the show, don’t make too much of a problem. I’m gonna ask her not to spit in your face. But you have to keep your cool.’”

The clip with Lee Bolleau had not aired in the original docuseries but when it was shown to Hearne and his mom for the follow-up episode, they both had an immediate visceral reaction.

"That's racist," Brown said. "Period."

Hearne said it "hit me really hard" watching Lee Bolleau recount her experience.

"To just be told you don’t matter in that moment, you’re being spit on, and they say this person matters more than you, take it," he said, emotional.

His mother added that she believes there is a "cultural difference" that impacted the way that scene played out.

"There’s a cultural difference too. We are culturally trained to take it," Brown said. "They are not."

Hearne noted that he didn't think Lee Bolleau could have felt empowered to ask to change the sketch.

"So imagine that little girl saying, 'I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do this,'" he said. "What would happen?"

Bynes did not immediately respond to TODAY.com's April 10 request for comment on the sketch.

The discovery of Amanda Bynes

In the documentary, Katrina Johnson, who starred in “All That” from age 10 to 16, alleges she was “edged out” after puberty by a “younger version” of herself: Amanda Bynes. “The new favorite had arrived,” Johnson says.

Johnson says she discovered Bynes after watching her perform at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles. Impressed, Johnson recommended Schneider see Bynes for himself.

“Dan (Schneider) saw her and immediately knew she’d be a star,” Fabian, the former Nickelodeon director, says.

Bynes was cast on “All That” and got her own spinoff, “The Amanda Bynes Show,” in 1999.

Johnson and Frierson — cast members from Bynes’ “All That” era — say her father, Rick Bynes, “carefully crafted Amanda’s career” with Schneider. The documentary emphasizes their close relationship.

Fabian says Bynes and Schneider were “very close on ‘The Amanda Show.’”

“Very few people made Dan laugh, and Amanda did,” he says.

Karyn Finley Thompson — an editor on “All That” — says she and Schneider had a “close relationship.” She recalls seeing Bynes massaging Schneider’s shoulders.

The documentary also looks into how their relationship soured as Bynes got older.

Schneider and Bynes moved from Nickelodeon to The CW for “What I Like About You,” co-created with Will Calhoun. He denies he was pushed out from the writers’ room, according to a statement aired in the documentary.

But their relationship soured when Schneider involved himself in Bynes’ failed effort to emancipate herself from her parents, the documentary alleges.

TODAY.com has reached out to Bynes for comment and has not heard back at the time of publication.

Inappropriate jokes, including some featuring Ariana Grande

The documentary revisits some of the jokes on Nickelodeon shows and how they might have had inappropriate subtext, referencing adult content on kids’ TV.

For example, in “Victorious,” a young Ariana Grande tries to “juice a potato“ by moving her hands over a brown potato.

TODAY.com reached out to Grande for comment and has not heard back.

Frierson, the former “All That” cast member, remembers being cast as “Nose Boy.” For the costume, Frierson wore a large brown prosthetic nose on his face and shoulders, which seemed to resemble male genitals. During the punch line, he sneezed snot.

“Frankly, it was just uncomfortable,” Frierson says. “But I always did my best to be a trooper, never complained. We knew being close to Dan could mean an extra level of success. It was important to be on his good side, and he made it known who was on his good side.”

The name of Penelope Taynt, a character on “The Amanda Show” who was Bynes’ alter ego, was a joke about the taint, a slang term for the part of the body between the anus and the genitals. Writers say Schneider asked them to “keep it a secret” from Nickelodeon executives.

A spokesperson for Schneider told NBC News “every scene was approved by the network and these shows are all still being aired today. If there was an actual problem, they would be taken down, but they air constantly all over the world, enjoyed by kids and parents.”

Like an 'abusive relationship' in the writers' room

Christy Stratton and Jenny Kilgen, two former writers on “The Amanda Show,” allege in the documentary that there was an abusive environment in the writers’ room.

“Working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship," Stratton says.

“He had fostered this very fun, casual atmosphere, but I felt Dan could be very volatile and could turn any moment. I was scared," she says.

“You always felt like disagreeing with Dan could result in getting fired,” Kilgen says.

The writers, the only women hired on the show, were asked to “split a salary,” and agreed to for similar reasons.

“This was my dream job,” Kilgen says. “Don’t be a complainer. Do whatever you have to do to get this job.”

In a statement that airs during the docuseries, Schneider said he had no control over staff salaries on the show.

Stratton says the early days were “great,” but they didn’t stay so. Stratton and Kilgen felt targeted as women.

“It was early on that Dan said he didn’t think women were funny,” Stratton says. Kilgen says Schneider “challenged” the room to “name a funny female writer.”

“That was my first indication of trouble, that maybe this guy didn’t value women in the writers’ room,” Kilgen says.

Kilgen and Stratton say Schneider would force pranks on the staff, pestering them to say random sentences out loud, like “I’m a slut.”

Stratton also says Schneider once challenged her to eat two pints of ice cream in 30 minutes for $300 dollars. Stratton agreed because she had “no money.” She completed the challenge, throwing up afterward, but then “the money didn’t come.”

Kilgen says Schneider got “worse and worse.” He played pornography on set and asked Kilgen to “massage him” several times in the writers’ room and the studio, Kilgen says.

Then, Kilgen recounts “the wrongest thing I’d seen happen to a woman in a professional environment, ever.”

The women say Schneider pressured Stratton into retelling a story, but acting like she “was being sodomized” while doing it.

“I think, ‘That poor girl and what she had to go through.’ I would not do it today, but I did it then," Stratton says.

Both eventually left the show. Kilgen filed complaints against the production company for gender discrimination, hostile work environment and harassment. In response, Nickelodeon did an internal investigation and settled. Kilgen says the experience had a “lasting impact on her career.”

Karyn Finley Thompson, an editor on "The Amanda Show," also shares her experiences as a woman on set, including Schneider making “degrading” comments to her.

Working around the clock, from 8 a.m. to midnight, Thompson said she once “keeled over” and had to go to the hospital.

“As I’m leaving and curled over, I could see someone say, ‘How is the show going to get finished?’ I remember saying, ‘I’ll be right back,’” Thompson says.

Thompson says she left after Schneider gave a job he had promised to her to a younger man with no experience.

“I was livid ... I got out of my chair and I never came back,” she says.

Schneider says he never considered gender when hiring, per a statement that appears in the documentary.

Convicted pedophiles on set

The documentary spotlights two convicted sex offenders on the set of Nickelodeon shows: Jason Michael Handy, a former production assistant, and Brian Peck, an actor and dialogue coach. Both were convicted while they were working on Nickelodeon sets.

The mother of a former "Amanda Show" child actor, listed only as MJ in the documentary, speaks out in the documentary about her daughter's exposure to Handy.

Brandi, MJ's daughter, was booked on the show at 11.

Handy "(guided) the kids to where they needed to be," Brandi's mom says.

"You thought, 'Oh, I could be friends with this person," she says of Handy.

On the way home, MJ says her daughter told her that Handy had asked to email with her. A week later, Brandi received an email from Handy.

"I didn't see any harm in it," MJ says.

That changed when Brandi received a lewd photo of Handy naked and masturbating, MJ says.

MJ says she went back and forth about reporting it but decided not to, afraid the police would think she was a "bad parent," instead resolving to keep her away from Handy. Her daughter never returned to show business.

Law enforcement searched Handy's home in 2003 and found sexually exploitative images of children. They also found a journal in which Handy describes himself as a "pedophile, full-blown," per the documentary.

Handy was sentenced to six years in prison in 2004 after pleading no contest to two felony counts involving two girls, one of whom was Brandi. It was not immediately clear if Handy currently has legal representation.

The documentary also spotlights Peck, an actor and dialogue coach who was a constant presence on set. “Everybody loved Brian,” Sullivan says. “He was charming, he was clever, and he was around all the time.’”

He starred in every episode of the show as Pickle Boy, a recurring bit that saw him carrying around a towering plate of pickles. He also was a regular behind-the-scenes as a dialogue coach.

Sullivan's opinion of Peck changed during a party at his house when he discovered Peck had a self-portrait by convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy on his walls.

Sullivan and his "All That" co-stars later learned Peck had been accused on 11 counts of sexually abusing a minor.

Brian Peck is not related to former “Drake and Josh” star Josh Peck.

Drake Bell reveals he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child

In the series finale, former Nickelodeon child star Drake Bell opens up for the first time about the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of his former acting and dialogue coach, Brian Peck.

TODAY.com reached out to Peck’s attorney for comment and has not heard back at time of publication.

In its statement on March 15, Nickelodeon said, “Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward.”

Bell says the abuse took place at Peck’s home over several months after the acting coach ingratiated himself in Bell’s life.

“He had pretty much worked his way into every aspect of my life,” Bell says. Bell says Peck started laying the groundwork to drive a wedge between the young actor and his dad, who had until then served as his manager.

“Our relationship was just completely eviscerated,” Bell says of his relationship with his father after Peck’s influence. “This is going to make me cry if I think about it like that.”

Once Bell’s father was essentially out of the picture, Bell says Peck started driving him around Los Angeles and having him spend the night at the acting coach’s home.

When he was 15, between Bell’s jobs on “The Amanda Show” and “Drake and Josh,” Bell says Peck started to sexually abuse him.

“I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep and I woke up to him … I opened my eyes, I woke up and he was sexually assaulting me,” Bell says. “And I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react.”

Bell says the “extensive” abuse continued for months.

“It just got worse and worse. And worse. And worse,” he says. “And I was just trapped. I didn’t — I had no way out.”

Bell says he finally “exploded” while on the phone with his mom one day. He says the police had him call Peck on a recorded line to get a confession and then Peck was arrested shortly afterward.

In October 2004, Peck pleaded no contest to two charges of sexual abuse and was found guilty of both. He spent 16 months in prison and was made to register as a sex offender.

Bell says in 2004, Schneider was the only person from Nickelodeon who reached out to him after news about Peck made headlines.

Bell says fans shouldn’t be upset with his mom

In the original episodes of the docuseries, Bell’s father states that he had immediately thought something was amiss with Peck’s on-set behavior.

Joe Bell says that he’d warned his ex about Peck, and Drake Bell says his mom was also tricked by the acting coach.

“Brian (Peck) really started getting into my mom’s mind and telling her the same things he was telling me,” Bell says.

In the follow-up April 7 episode, Drake Bell says that the resulting separation (and subsequent abuse at the hands of Brian Peck) had been “really hard” on both him and his father but they now have a “fantastic relationship.”

“My dad’s very emotional but we have a fantastic relationship and I’m so grateful for that,” he says. “Like it shows in the doc, we went through many years of separation and it was really hard on both of us. And right now we have an amazing, amazing relationship.”

He went on to say that his relationship with his mom is also “incredible.”

“I do feel, there’s a lot of kind of people going after my mom a little bit but if you were in that situation at that time, he was so good at what he was doing, Brian (Peck), he was so calculated,” Bell says. “He knew exactly what to say, how to say it, how to do it, the image to portray, I completely understand how he just pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. It’s tragic.”

Drake Bell says Hollywood celebrities defended his abuser in court

In the original series finale, Bell says that when he and his family arrived at Peck’s sentencing, he was shocked to find that Peck’s side of the courtroom was “full” of his supporters.

“It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen,” Bell says. “(Peck’s) entire side of the courtroom was full.”

“There were definitely some recognizable faces on that side of the room,” Bell says.

The documentary producers and Insider petitioned the court to unseal the letters of support sent on Peck’s behalf. The court records, which TODAY.com has not reviewed, revealed that several celebrities had submitted letters to the court in support of Peck.

“Brian had been convicted, but getting all this support from a lot of people in the industry and yeah, I was pretty shocked,” Bell says. “ I addressed my statement to everyone in the room. I looked at all of them and I just said, ‘How dare you?’”

“I said, ‘You will forever have the memory of sitting in this courtroom and defending this person. And I will forever have the memory of the person you’re defending violating me and doing unspeakable acts and crimes and that’s what I’ll remember.’”

In the April 7 follow-up episode, Bell says “not one person who had written any of those letters has reached out to me” after the original episodes of the documentary aired.

“And that’s the thing that’s hard about this because everyone deals with their trauma in different ways,” he says when asked about the other actors who had later publicly apologized. “Everyone comes to different conclusions at different times in their lives and realizations.”

He adds that it “boggles my mind” that there hadn’t been more media coverage at the time of Peck’s case, and the acting coach had been allowed to keep working after his conviction.

“It was just unbelievable,” he says. “I think that there being no media coverage played a huge part in that.”

How being abused and a child star impacted Drake Bell

In the docuseries, Bell reveals that he “didn’t know how to process” the abuse that happened to him.

“I think that led to a lot of self-destruction and a lot of self-loathing,” he says. “I would try and just escape with alcohol abuse, substance abuse. Really just anything to escape really.”

Bell was the subject of several headlines following his time on the children’s network.

“I would have stints of sobriety and then the pressure would be too much and all of these demons that I had were very difficult to work through,” Bell recalls. “And so I think a lot of my self-destructive behavior would always just be a temporary fix...”

Bell specifically mentions getting DUIs and pleading guilty to child endangerment in 2021 as “behaviors that were happening because I was lost.”

In the 2021 case, a female fan accused Bell of sexual misconduct, alleging the “Drake and Josh” star had sent her graphic photos and had been “grooming” her since she was 12. Bell took a plea deal and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

“I took responsibility for that, I did what was asked of me,” Bell says in the docuseries. “But the media grabbed a hold of so much misinformation and it destroyed me and I started to spin out of control.”

He says he went through bankruptcy and lost his home before hitting “rock bottom” and checking into a treatment center.

“If I continued down that path, that could very likely be the end of my story,” he says.

In the April 7 episode, Bell elaborates that he was lucky to have survived that time in his life as a child star.

“With Amanda (Bynes) and so many others, I mean, we’ve lost so many that aren’t here anymore,” he says. “I’ve watched tragedy after tragedy after tragedy in this business and it’s just heartbreaking.”

He adds that he “went many years not wanting to even talk about it at all, not in therapy, not with my friends, not with my family.”

It was only after he was in rehab and forced to go to therapy all day that he started to process what had happened to him.

"There was a lot of things happening in my personal life that were really difficult and I just kind of, you know, I guess spiral is the best way to put it," he says. "So when I went to rehab, it wasn’t just 45 minutes with your doctor twice a week, it was ... therapy all day."

"It was really helpful to start facing this stuff head-on," he adds. "Obviously things like DUIs and choices that I’ve made in my life, they’re decisions I’ve made on my own. So I do have to take accountability and responsibility for those things but it’s really eye-opening to get down to maybe what’s the root cause, you know, where is this coming from?"

Bell says former co-star Josh Peck reached out after the documentary aired

Bell also reveals that his former “Drake and Josh” co-star, Josh Peck, reached out to him after seeing the docuseries.

“I know what it’s like to have the internet attack you for really nothing,” he says, referring to how Josh Peck had been the subject of online ire after the documentary aired.

“(Josh Peck) had reached out to me and we’d been talking,” Bell says. “This is a really difficult thing to process. But at the end of the day, we have such a close connection and this unique bond that’s so rare in this industry that — I don’t know — it’s really special and he’s a really great person.”

Another former child actor reveals Brian Peck ‘made passes’ at him on set

In the April 7 episode, "All That" star Shane Lyons was interviewed for the first time. Lyons reveals that he also had been subjected to inappropriate behavior from Brian Peck on set but said he was “lucky that nothing” like what happened to Bell happened to him.

Lyons says he didn't realize some of what Brian Peck said to him as a preteen had been sexually charged, citing a time Brian Peck asked him about “blue balls” after a conversation with a larger group in the green room.

“He was like, ‘Well, we know what blue balls are, right Shane?’” Lyons says, adding that at the time he was just “a kid” who thought they were racquetballs.

“And as I think back now as an adult, who is a 36-year-old, you know, would I ever have a conversation with a 13-year-old boy like he had with me? No!” Lyons says. “It makes absolutely zero sense. Or a 13-year-old girl or a 13-year-old anybody — these are kids, why are you talking like that?”

Former child stars on whether they'd let their children act

In Episode Four of the original docuseries, when asked if he believes Hollywood is a good place for children, Bell didn't seem to know how to answer.

“I wanted nothing more in life but to get on stage,” he says. “There is so much in this industry that you have to be cautious of. But would I want the experiences that I’ve had, the good experiences that I’ve had ripped away from me? I don’t know... But I would love to be able to create an environment where we’re not so vulnerable and susceptible to outside dangers.”

In the bonus episode on April 7, two of "All That" cast members — Giovonnie Samuels and Bryan Hearne — agree that they wouldn't let their kids become child actors.

CORRECTION (March 18, 2024, at 10 p.m. PT): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Schneider worked for Netflix. It has been corrected to say Nickelodeon.

CORRECTION (March 20, 2024, at 10:22 a.m. EST): An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Brian Peck's first name. It has been corrected.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com