“I’m Upset, Yeah”: Ariana Grande Addresses Controversial Nickelodeon Years

Ariana Grande
Credit: Universal

Ariana Grande, superstar singer and former child star, is “upset” about her time on the increasingly controversial children’s entertainment network Nickelodeon and says she is now “reprocessing” what those years of her career meant to her.

Ariana Grande posing

Credit: Ariana Grande via Instagram

Although primarily known best as a pop star now, Ariana Grande first rose to fame as a child actor on the Nickelodeon series Victorious, in which she portrayed the character Cat Valentine for four seasons. She reprised the role in a spinoff, Sam & Cat, and soon pivoted into a music career that has since largely eclipsed her earlier acting roles.

However, the recent bombshell docu-series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which details allegations by Nickelodeon cast members of inappropriate behavior by Nickelodeon showrunner Dan Schneider has apparently caused her to rethink much of her time on the network. Quiet on Set featured interviews with numerous Nickelodeon contemporaries of hers, including Drake Bell, Katrina Johnson, and Alexa Nikolas, though not Grande herself.

'Quiet on Set' promotional banner

Credit: Investigation Discovery

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Quiet on Set featured allegations that Nickelodeon shows created and written by Dan Schneider sexualized juvenile actors, prominently using Ariana Grande as an example and that the atmosphere of the studio was exceptionally hostile for minors. In response, Schneider has since commented on the docu-series, saying:

“Watching over the past two nights was very difficult. Me facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret, and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.”

“I can tell you why it hurts really bad for me. I remember very clearly my early experiences [and] my first experiences in the entertainment business. I was green, I was scared, I was excited. It meant the world to me that I was getting those opportunities and I went in and I got lucky cause they were great. And the fact that I didn’t pay that forward to every employee that walked through my door, it hurts my heart cause I should have. I wish I could go back and fix that.”

drake and josh

Credit: Nickelodeon

Despite her prominence (through archival footage) in Quiet on Set, Ariana Grande has not made many public comments regarding the Nickelodeon abuse scandal until now. In a recent episode of the Podcrushed podcast, hosted by Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin, and Sophie Ansari, Grande revealed that while she was grateful for her experiences as a child actor, she was now recontextualizing them as part of a wider discussion on child performers.

She said:

“We were young performers who just wanted to do this with our lives more than anything, and we got to and that was so beautiful. 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… [I am] reprocessing [my] relationship to it a little bit now, if that makes sense.”

In particular, Ariana Grande highlighted the need for increased protection for child performers and the importance of therapy, saying:

“I think the environment needs to be made safer if kids are going to be acting, and I think there should be therapists. I think parents should allowed to be wherever they want to be, and I think not only on kids’ sets. If anyone wants to do this, or music, or anything at this level of exposure, there should be in the contract something about therapy is mandatory twice a week or thrice a week, or something like that.”

Related: Nickelodeon Sex Offender Hired (And Fired) By Disney Channel

Ariana Grande looking shocked as Glinda in Wicked

Credit: Universal

While the star of the upcoming two-part film Wicked did not mention Dan Schneider or Quiet on Set by name, it is clear that she was obliquely referencing the abuse scandal allegations and her depiction as a minor. She continued:

“Specifically about our show, I think that was something that we were convinced was the cool thing about us — is that we pushed the envelope with our humor and the innuendos were…it was like the cool differentiation. And I don’t know, I think it just all happened so quickly and now looking back on some of the clips I’m like, ‘Damn, really? Oh s***’…and the things that weren’t approved for the network were snuck on to like our website or whatever.”

“I guess I’m upset, yeah.”

What do you think of Ariana Grande’s statements? Comment below!

About Nathan Kamal

Nathan Kamal is a Chicago-based writer and comic, who enjoys cooking, hanging out with his cat, and seeing as many movies as possible.

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