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Ariana Grande Is ‘Reprocessing’ Nickelodeon Experience After ‘Quiet on Set’: Kids Should Be ‘Safer’

Ariana Grande Opens Up About Nickelodeon Experience, Addresses 'Quiet on Set' Doc
Ariana GrandeJamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ariana Grande is opening up about her experience on Nickelodeon after several former child stars recalled harrowing experiences with the network in the five-part docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

“I think we had some very special memories and we feel so privileged to have been able to create those roles and be a part of something that was so special for a lot of young kids,” Grande, 30, said of her time on Victorious during the Wednesday, June 12, episode of Penn Badgley’s “Podcrushed” podcast. “I think we’re reprocessing our relationship to it a little bit now.”

One observation Grande took away from her experience on the show was that “the environment needs to be made safer” for child actors. “I think there should be therapists, I think there should be parents allowed to be wherever they want to be,” she added. “And I think, not only on kids’ sets. I think if anyone wants to do this or music or anything at the level of exposure that it means to be on TV or to do music with a major label or whatever, there should be in the contract something about, ‘Therapy is mandatory twice a week,’ or ‘thrice a week.’”

Grande said that many people “don’t have the support that they need to get through performing at that level at such a young age,” adding that it’s been “devastating” to hear the stories of former Nickelodeon stars who have come forward about their negative experiences at the network

Former Nickelodeon Stars Candid Quotes About Working at the Network 358

Related: Former Nickelodeon Stars' Candid Quotes About Working at the Network

“I’m glad that this conversation is happening here, and also in the world, because it’s also just kind of a cultural shift that’s happening where it’s not just actors and singers and whatever,” she told Badgley, 37. “If you ask anyone who’s ever worked ever, if they’ve ever dealt with a boss that had a really bad ego or temper, or if they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, it’s everywhere.”

As she and her former Victorious costars continue to reevaluate their experiences on the show, Grande said one “beautiful thing” about starring on the series was getting to “fall in love with these characters that we created and learn what it’s like to be so in character that you can’t separate yourself from it.”

Ariana Grande Opens Up About Nickelodeon Experience, Addresses 'Quiet on Set' Doc
Penny Marshall, Jennette McCurdy, Dan Schneider, Cindy Williams and Ariana Grande Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Although Grande did not participate in Quiet on Set, which premiered on Investigation Discovery in March, the docuseries included clips from the Nickelodeon show Sam & Cat of then-underage Grande trying to get “juice” out of a potato with two hands, putting her toes in her mouth and pouring water on herself while hanging upside down off a bed. (Grande played Cat Valentine on Victorious from 2010 to 2013 and on the spinoff series Sam & Cat from 2013 to 2014.)

The clips were part of a larger montage of Nickelodeon footage featuring jokes with sexual innuendos and references to porn.

“There are all types of on-screen set-ups that reference porn in [Zoey 101 and Victorious creator Dan Schneider’s] shows, like squirting something on to a 14-year-old’s face, or Ariana pouring water over herself in a sexual manner,” culture writer and interview subject Scaachi Koul argued in Quiet on Set. “He pushed the boundaries of sexualizing young girls, with scenes packed with sexual innuendo. But of course, who is sexual innuendo for in a kids’ TV show?”

Quiet on Set Docuseries Pulls Back the Curtain on Nickelodeon s Past Toxic Work Environment 885

Related: 'Quiet on Set' Docuseries Exposes Nickelodeon's Past Toxic Environment

Schneider, 58, who was also accused of workplace harassment and creating a toxic work environment in Quiet on Set, owned up to some of his past mistakes while reacting to the docuseries in a March YouTube video. He also admitted that many TV writers “are aware there are inappropriate jokes made and inappropriate topics come up,” adding, “But the fact I participated in that, especially when I was leading the room, it embarrasses me. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Schneider went on to sue Quiet on Set directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz for defamation in May, alleging that the series falsely implied that he “sexually abused the children who worked on his television shows.”

The lawsuit asserts that it is “indisputable” that Schneider had “no knowledge” of the sexual abuse committed by others at the network, including dialogue and acting coach Brian Peck, who was arrested in 2003 for sexually assaulting then-teenaged Drake Bell. Brian (no relation to Bell’s former Drake & Josh costar Josh Peck), 63, was subsequently sentenced to 16 months in prison. (Bell, 37, whose identity was not made public at the time of Peck’s sentencing, opened up about the abuse for the first time in Quiet on Set.)

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