Lately people have been screeching at Dustin Diamond. With the new press surrounding the upcoming Lifetime movie, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, on which Diamond is an executive producer, the actor who played Samuel “Screech” Powers from the smash ‘80s and ‘90s hit Saved by the Bell is being bashed for his “negativity.”
Former costar Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who played Zack Morris) and his Franklin & Bash costar Breckin Meyer slammed Diamond, 37, in an interview with HuffPost Live earlier this month, calling him a “d—k” for being “negative.”
In a lengthy follow-up interview with The Daily Beast on Aug. 11, Diamond defended himself, explaining that much of the public criticism surrounding him is due to his “bad boy” years.
“The [Celebrity] Fit Club, the porn, and the book were kind of like the one, two, three of the bad-boy image,” Diamond dished, adding that the weight loss reality show was scripted. “But I’m done with that. I think it backfired a bit. But honestly, on the flip side, I think it did break the image. People did only see me as an 11-year-old goofball from a Saturday morning campy TV show.”
Regarding the critical HuffPost Live interview, Diamond doesn’t appreciate Meyer chiming in when he’s never worked with him before.
“Breckin Meyer was the one really going at it,” Diamond said. “Mark-Paul gave the trained response we learned together at NBC when we were kids … Breckin Meyer was the one who went more off the handle. A lot of people do that for ratings—I don’t know what his reason was for. But he even said, ‘I’ve never met Dustin.’ So how can he say these things when he’s never met me?”
In terms of the upcoming Lifetime movie, the former child actor assured The Daily Beast that it isn’t sleazy, despite the catty first clip that was released last week featuring feuding teens.
“I think when this movie comes out, it’s going to surprise people because it’s not salacious, it’s not dirty, it’s not negative,” he insisted. “It’s embracing all the positive things that happened and clarifying certain things. I think everyone’s going to like it, including the other cast members.”
The film is loosely based off Diamond’s 2009 tell-all book, Behind the Bell, which the actor underplayed during the interview, claiming it was mostly written by a first-time ghostwriter.
“I talked to a guy a few times, so there were people up in arms, ‘Oh! He’s putting all this trash out.’ But I was like, ‘I didn’t even write it!’ It has my name on it, but it was written by a ghostwriter,” Diamond clarified. “And I was supposed to get a draft copy of the book to proofread, but I never did. I got a final copy, which was what was going to press. I was like, ‘What the hell? This isn’t right. This isn’t right.’”